KATHMANDU, March 21: Tiger Palace Resort, which has been falling into a number of controversies ever since its inception, has been of late accused of misusing bank loans.
Blaming the resort for the misuse of the loans taken from a number of Nepali banks, Santosh Tamu, one of the employees of the resort, has filed a complaint against the resort at Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). According to Tamu, the resort has diverted the loan taken from Prime Commercial Bank to a casino, which the resort has been operating as its ancillary business.
As per NRB rule, no business entity can invest bank loans in any area other than the one for which the loans have been approved. Prime Commercial Bank has invested Rs 130 million in the resort while Nepal Investment Bank, Civil Bank and Sanima Bank are also among the creditors of the deluxe resort.
Tiger Palace Resort, owned by the Australia-based casino operator Silver Heritage Group, began its operation in Kotihawa of Rupandehi district in September 2017. Apart from the resort, the group has been operating a casino at the same location. The group that also operates casino business in Vietnam fell into financial crisis several times in the past.
According to Tamu, the resort has already taken bank loans of Rs 1.50 billion while it is in the process of receiving additional loans of Rs 1 billion from Nepali banks. “The regulator has to initiate an enquiry as soon as possible to protect the banks concerned,” he said.
Ever since the group began its business in Nepal, it has fallen into a number of controversies time and again. Even the central bank has been accused of favoring the group by ignoring the anomalies conducted by the resort management.
Last year, the Department of Money Laundering Investigation (DMLI) had forwarded a letter to NRB to take immediate action to stop the sale of the resort when the business group looked to transfer shares without fulfilling legal formalities. However, the central bank, saying that it was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Industry, appeared reluctant to execute the direction of the DMLI.