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Australian Austrade gets cautious after Pearls Ponzi Scandal in India

Posted: Tuesday, 10 January 2017 13:04


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Australian Austrade gets cautious after Pearls Ponzi Scandal in India

Jan 10: Australian Federal government agency Austrade has now introduced eligibility checks for the businesses it promotes after it introduced Australian companies to India’s biggest alleged Ponzi scheme by the Pearls Group, owned by Nirmal Singh Bhangoo who is currently being prosecuted by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for illegally amassing properties worth Rs 5,000 crore across the country and in Australia, according to a Report by The Australian

Austrade had launched in February 2016 last year what the federal government said would be a detailed ­investigation into the agency’s promoting of the now collapsed A$10 billion Pearls Group scam, ­despite Indian authorities having been investigating it for more than a decade. Funded by the government, Austrade says it conducted no due diligence on any of the Australian companies it promoted overseas, or on the foreign companies it pushed to local businesses, according to the Report today in The Australian.

Austrade has reportedly failed to produce any details of that investigation but a spokesman  said the agency had reviewed its records of its dealings with Pearls. Additional guidelines related to eligibility checks have been ­ostensibly implemented now, including the criteria upon which decisions are based.

In March 2009, Austrade introduced Gold Coast property developers Paul Brinsmead and Peter Madrers, whose Resort Corp property group had then just collapsed with debts of  $300m, to Pearls Group in India. They formed an alliance called Pearls Australasia with Pearls and using its  funds, bought the Sheraton Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast for A$62m,  spending a further $20m on refurbishments.

The Sheraton Mirage is currently in the process of being sold, with an asking price of A$140m. A class ­action buy about 46,000 Indian ­investors against Mr Brinsmead and Mr Madrers is in the court over the proceeds of this sale, according to report.

‘Pearls, run by an Indian businessman Nirmal Singh Bhangoo who was jailed last January, raised A$10bn from an estimated 50 million investors under the guise of selling land parcels which often did not exist, before it collapsed spectacularly’. According to a Report in Mail Today exactly a year ago, on January 10, 2016, ‘Probing a Ponzi scheme worth Rs 45,000 crore referred to as the Pearl scam for the last two years, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has identified properties worth Rs 5,000 crore across the country and scrutinising investments in Australia amassed by Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, the arrested owner of Pearl group. Investigators say they are scanning over 20,000 documents related to properties in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Maharashtra. Sources said it is estimated that the properties could be worth Rs 1.85 lakh crores in terms of current market rates.’

The various Annual Reports of Austrade show that Pearls was a key partner in the government agency’s Business Club Australia program in Delhi. This program coincided with the Commonwealth Games in October 2010 in Delhi and was held “within the purpose-built marquee on the high commissioner’s lawn”, according to The Australian.

Also to be introduced to Pearls at the Delhi event was South Australia’s Barossa Valley wine group Wolf Blass. Many wine importers and journalists including Subhash Arora, Editor of this newsletter delWine were invited to attend what was purported to be the ‘Launch’ of Wolf Blass wines by Pearls. In its annual report, Austrade also referred to Pearls as an “Indian wine distributor” and adds that Pearls launched the Wolf Blass label into the Indian market. Treasury Wine ­Estates, the parent company of Wolf Blass has apparently not commented so far but as is already known in the Indian market, the partnership was short-lived.

PACL (Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd), earlier known as Pearls Agencies, started the wine import business in late 2007 with Buller Wines from Victoria, Australia but did not succeed in penetrating the market. It was the only label in the portfolio of Pearl Wines, the firm promoted to distribute imported wines in the fiercely competitive Indian wine market.

Sources say close to A$150 million amounting to over Rs 650 crores were stashed away to Australian companies linked to Bhangoo who is accused of running a Ponzi scheme giving land guarantee to lure investors who paid a certain amount of money. It is estimated that over 5 crores investors were conned in the pyramid scheme.’

Bhangoo was granted bail on February 29, 2016 and the case proceedings are on.

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Sudama jha Says:

I have invested whatever earned in pacl. When I get my money back from the company. I am in under money crisis. Sometimes I thought of committing suicide. Because I was also an agent in Pacl company.

Posted @ February 01, 2017 14:22



sorry we cannot help much except highlight the problem. And pray to God to find a solution for you.

Posted @ January 31, 2017 11:20


Satish kumar Says:

I have invested whatever earned in pacl. When I get my money back from the company. I am in under money crisis. Sometimes I thought of committing suicide. Because I was also an agent in Pacl company.

Posted @ January 30, 2017 13:05


Subhash Arora Says:


Unfortunately, we cannot push these unscrupulous people. But we definitely like to project the problem. Very tricky and sad situation. When a middle class person invests his life-earned savings and loses it, I feel very upset. My sympathies and prayers for all such people. But suicide should NEVER be even in the thoughts. Believe in GOD. Arora

Posted @ January 23, 2017 13:56


Shantibhai Goyani Says:

Were you give money which we invested in pacl. All customers will ask were you give our money back. And also say when you cann't give me money so we have only one way that suicide. So we all say please do something early. Pleases..............

Posted @ January 23, 2017 12:00


Subhash Arora Says:


Dear Ganesh, I am sorry you are in a mess thanks to PACL.Please do not lose heart. There are thousands like you. Remember life has ups and downs for everyone. Bad days are not for ever. Keep following for your money. But also look for alternatives. May God be with you and give you the courage.

Posted @ January 11, 2017 11:25


Chathe Ganesh Says:

I am a pacl agentI have many problems in my life.I am in suicide mood.

Posted @ January 11, 2017 10:40


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