‘Such payments have raised suspicions about money laundering, tax avoidance’
KATHMANDU, March 12: Silver Heritage Group has reportedly paid over a billion rupees to local suppliers and vendors for some construction and other works of Tiger Palace Resort through its Hong Kong office.
According to a knowledgeable source at the resort, payments worth over a billion rupees have been made from the Honk Kong office to suppliers including Space Studio, Home Maker, Airtech and roofing contractor. Similarly, the group has made payment for marketing, legal and professional fees, travelling and accommodations for the construction services from its Hong Kong office. Total payments made from the Hong Kong office amount to nearly Rs 1.76 billion, according to a document seen by Republica.
“Payments of over a billion rupees from Hong Kong office raise a suspicion of money laundering and tax avoidance,” the source told Republica. “The payment from Hong Kong implies that huge amount is being evaded. It is a serious issue that the government should look into,” added the source.
Similarly, the group, which has brought foreign direct investment for the resort, has borrowed money from a consortium of banks in Nepal to invest in the resort projects. Though the group has said that it has been bringing foreign direct investment, it borrowed nearly Rs 1.4 billion from the consortium to pay local suppliers, the source said.
“Though the group borrowed from local banks for construction and to pay suppliers, it paid the services fees from Honk Kong Office, raising suspicion that the loan has been misused,” the source added.
Some foreigners are reportedly working at the resort without acquiring work permit. While some have fled the country after Republica reported about them, some are still working in the casino on the resort premises. These foreign staffers are drawing as much as $50,000 as monthly remuneration, according to the source. Nepal’s laws require foreigners to acquire work permit before starting working in an organization in the country.
The Hong Kong office of Silver Investment Group provides them salary, while the casino has been providing them other perks and incentives here in the country.
Local staffs have also been protesting against the hiring of foreigners in the resort. They say that the pay disparity between local and foreign staffers is very huge.
The management of the Tiger Palace Resort has hired foreigners to work in Nepal despite the opposition of its local investment partner. The local partner has also sought legal action against the illegal foreign workers, informing the labor authorities about the use of foreign workers without work permit.
Silver Heritage Group is a company listed in Sydney Stock Exchange in
Australia. The company has announced to invest Rs 10 billion in Nepal, with plans to increase its investment to Rs 30 billion.