Indian authorities seize $65 million of property in Jet Airways fraud case

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s financial crime agency has seized properties worth 5.38 billion rupees (nearly $65 million) as part of its probe into money laundering allegations against the now-defunct Jet Airways and founder Naresh Goyal, the agency said on Wednesday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it has seized 17 residential and commercial properties in London, Dubai and India that were registered in the names of various companies and people, including Goyal, his wife and son.

Goyal has been in judicial custody since September when the ED arrested him in relation to the money laundering that was filed by state lender Canara Bank in May.

Jet Airways had siphoned off loans from a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, the ED said.

The agency doubled down on its claim that under Goyal’s leadership, the airline had siphoned off funds under the garb of professional and consultancy fees to overseas entities and towards the expenses of Goyal and his family members.

“Naresh Goyal implemented a massive financial fraud,” it said on Wednesday.

Goyal’s lawyer told Reuters, “We are going through the charge sheet and are currently evaluating our options.”

Goyal founded Jet Airways in 1992 and led it to become India’s second-largest carrier in India by market share. It shut down operations in April 2019 after running out of cash. ($1 = 83.2615 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)