Pandora Papers: India-born Singapore billionaire with ties to powerful takes offshore route

Arvind Tiku is not just anoth­er busi­ness­man. His busi­ness asso­ciates include LN Mittal, chair­man of the world’s largest steel and met­al com­pa­ny, ArcelorMittal, and Timur Kulibaev, son-in-law of for­mer President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Arvind Tiku is ranked by Forbes in 2021 as the 18th rich­est per­son in Singapore with a net worth of $2.2 billion.

India-born Arvind Tiku, 51, ranked by Forbes in 2021 as the 18th rich­est in Singapore with a net worth of $2.2 bil­lion, has estab­lished The Sai Charan Investment Holding Trust in Singapore, of which Auctus Investments Ltd, a British Virgin Islands com­pa­ny, is the prime invest­ment hold­ing vehi­cle with assets of $199.4 mil­lion, show records of Trident Trust, a glob­al cor­po­rate ser­vices com­pa­ny head­quar­tered in BVI.

Tiku is not just anoth­er busi­ness­man. His busi­ness asso­ciates include LN Mittal, chair­man of the world’s largest steel and met­al com­pa­ny, ArcelorMittal, and Timur Kulibaev, son-in-law of for­mer President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

While ver­i­fy­ing cre­den­tials using the World-Check ser­vice offered by Thomson Reuters, Trident Trust had red-flagged Tiku, giv­en his asso­ci­a­tion with Kulibaev and Mittal (both Politically Exposed Persons), and sought an enhanced due dili­gence check on him. He was shown as a ben­e­fi­cial own­er of KazStroyService Global BV, a com­pa­ny con­trolled by Tiku, LN Mittal, Timur Kulibaev and Goldman Sachs.

The Indian Express inde­pen­dent­ly cor­rob­o­rat­ed it. The 2013 Annual Report of UK ener­gy com­pa­ny Nostrum Oil and Gas high­lights KSS Global as an enti­ty indi­rect­ly con­trolled by the four, and as the ben­e­fi­cial hold­er of 26.6 per cent of the UK company.

Profiling him among the 50 rich­est in Singapore, Forbes said Tiku left India when he was 18 to study mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing in Russia and worked as a com­modi­ties trad­er before ven­tur­ing into oil and gas in Kazakhstan.

Document that lists Arvind Tiku as a ben­e­fi­cial owner.

Today, he is the Founder and Group Chairman of AT Capital Pte Ltd, a Singapore pri­vate equi­ty com­pa­ny, with $2.5 bil­lion in assets spread across sec­tors such as real estate, hos­pi­tal­i­ty, nat­ur­al resources, engi­neer­ing, and construction.

Responding to ques­tions from The Indian Express, Hywel Phillip, General Counsel, AT Capital Pte Ltd, said: “Mr. Tiku has been a Non-Resident Indian since 1998. The AT Capital group is not an own­er of KSS Global. The AT Capital group sold its inter­est in KSS in 2018 at the same time as oth­er share­hold­ers includ­ing Goldman Sachs.”

Tiku set up The Sai Charan Trust in Channel Islands, Guernsey, in August 2011. The trustee of Sai Charan Trust is Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) Limited. It’s a dis­cre­tionary trust set up for estate plan­ning of Tiku, who is also the ‘Settlor’ and ‘Ultimate Beneficial Owner’. In sim­ple words, he owns all assets assigned to the Trust. His wife Niharika Tiku is the ‘Protector’ of the trust, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments. Auctus Investments is the account hold­er for the trust.

While a ‘Settlor’ is a per­son who sets up the trust, a ‘Protector’ gen­er­al­ly super­vis­es the trustee. The trustee, in this case, Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) Ltd, admin­is­ters all the affairs of the trust based on the instruc­tions of the ‘Settlor’ – Arvind Tiku.

Phillip said the AT Capital group is held by two irrev­o­ca­ble dis­cre­tionary trusts, of which The Sai Charan Investment Holding Trust is one. “The ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the trusts set­tled by Mr Tiku include only him­self and his imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­bers and no oth­er per­sons,” he said.

To a ques­tion if all assets were declared, Phillip said, “All rel­e­vant assets/ income required to be dis­closed to the Income-Tax depart­ment in India, Singapore and/or any oth­er tax juris­dic­tions have been declared and paid.”

Auctus Investments, the BVI com­pa­ny, incor­po­rat­ed in February 2013, owns the invest­ment port­fo­lio kept with Standard Chartered Bank’s branch­es in Hong Kong and Singapore. This includes cash accounts, bonds, equi­ties, and mutu­al funds, val­ued at $199.7 mil­lion. The trustee to Sai Charan Trust – Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) Ltd – pro­vid­ed nom­i­nee share­hold­ers, direc­tors, and sec­re­taries for Auctus Investments, all for a fee. Arvind Tiku and the trustee are named the ‘ben­e­fi­cial own­ers’ of this invest­ment company.

Auctus Investments is the sole share­hold­er in sev­er­al com­pa­nies, includ­ing two BVI com­pa­nies, Starlet Group Holdings Inc and Swift Ventures Assets Ltd.

These two BVI com­pa­nies have been set up pri­mar­i­ly to own real estate assets and bank accounts in the United Kingdom, and the ‘ben­e­fi­cial own­er’ for both is The Sai Charan Trust. Starlet, the doc­u­ments show, owns a $34.7 mil­lion prop­er­ty in London, and Swift a $1.9 mil­lion prop­er­ty, again in London.

Besides these two, Auctus Investments and Arvind Tiku, are also named the ‘ben­e­fi­cial own­ers’ of AT Investments Ltd, which holds assets with an esti­mat­ed val­ue of $26 mil­lion. Tiku is also the ben­e­fi­cial own­er of Darley Central Asia Ltd, whose name was changed to Painite Holdings Ltd, effec­tive April 2017, since its invest­ment was not in Asia.

Original arti­cle source: THE INDIAN EXPRESS