NRB silent on DMLI request

Millions of dollar could be siphoned off illegally through proposed sale of Tiger Palace Resort

Published On: March 21, 2020 09:10 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 21: Nearly a month has elapsed since the Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) forwarded a letter to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to take immediate action to stop the sale of Silver Heritage Group owned Tiger Palace Resort, the apex bank has not taken any decisions on the issue, rising fear that the millions of dollar to be siphoned off from the country.

On Feb 25, DMLI wrote to the office of the governor to investigate issues relating to the illegal sale. A senior official at the Payment Systems Department of the NRB said that Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act- FITTA 2075 ensures the investor to take back the royalties and return on investments. “NRB has a limited role as the Department of Industry (DoI) provides the permission to operate the venture and NRB is liable to provide exchange facilities to such companies,” the official said. 

The District Court Rupandehi has issued an interim order restricting the sale or building of anything on the encroached plot, Silver Heritage has announced the sale of its Nepal operation.

“We have a legal department to deal with complex legal cases and we would act on the recommendations of the department,” the official said, adding that they have not received any letter to stop the payment. 

The SHL entity in Nepal is trying to take out millions from Nepal in the name of “software purchase”. They have requested permission to “pay” at least US$400,000 per month to international vendors like Betstone and Osiros. Acting governor Chinta Mani Siwakoti was not available to comment on the issue. 

Earlier last month, DMLI did an investigation into the process started by Silver Heritage Group to sell its Nepal's Tiger Palace Resort, an operation that has courted controversy for building its property in 'illegal land'. Sources say SHL is exploring the sale of Tiger Palace Resort through a British Virgin Islands (BVI) entity to avoid taxes here in Nepal. Earlier, NRB expressed concern over the exposure of Nepali banks in the Resort. If the sale of the Resort is carried out through a BVI entity, more than a billion rupees of loans of Nepali banks will be at risk. 

Nepali ambassador to the United States of America Arjun Karki and the acting governor of NRB, along with Khagendra Chetri are using Manhattan First to carry out the SHL deal illegally, outside of Nepal. Karki also acts as an advisor to the Fund.

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