Abg Shipyard Bank scam: The ABG Shipyard scam: Inaction on red flags as India’s biggest bank fraud unfolds
The timeline of events, taken from FIRs and audit reports, shows long periods of sleep during which lending banks and law enforcement did nothing:
1985: ABG Shipyard Ltd, the flagship company of the ABG Group, is incorporated. It is promoted by Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal, and is in the shipbuilding and repair business, with shipyards in Dahesh and Surat in Gujarat. A consortium of 28 banks, with ICICI as the lead bank, finances it.
Business boomed and ABG Shipyard built 165 vessels in 16 years, including specialist vessels such as newsprint carriers, self-unloading and self-loading bulk cement carriers
2005-2010: Banks continue to lend generously to ABG Shipyards despite signs of trouble from a global financial crisis in 2008
2008: The global financial crises, led by the US housing bubble and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, hit ABG Shipyards. The company now has insufficient working capital which has caused “a significant increase in the operating cycle, thus aggravating the liquidity and financial problem”
March 2014: SBI is attempting to restructure loans to ABG Shipyard under a corporate debt restructuring or CDR. Restructuring fails as ABG Shipyards is unable to pay interest and installments when due
July 2016: The ABG account is declared NPA, with backdate to November 30, 2013
January 2019: SBI identifies fraud
January 2019: Ernst and Young LLP conducts a forensic audit at the ABG shipyard. It finds evidence of fraud between April 2012 and July 2017. The audit shows that the fraud was carried out by “embezzlement, embezzlement and criminal breach of trust, for the purpose of gaining illegally from the bank’s funds” .
ABG Shipyard mainly used three different types of loans from 28 banks. Funds raised through these loans were then diverted through 98 sister companies and mostly used to build personal assets.
November 2019: SBI files a complaint
August 2020: SBI Files Fuller Complaint
February 7, 2022: CBI records deal, delivers ABG Shipyard and ABG International Private Ltd.
CBI’s FIR says ABG SL owes a total of Rs 22,842 crore. It owes ICICI (which led the consortium) Rs 7,089 crore, SBI Rs 2,925 crore, IDBI Bank Rs 3,639 crore, Bank of Baroda Rs 1,614 crore, Punjab National Bank Rs 1,244 crore, Exim Bank Rs 1,327, Indian Overseas Bank Rs 1,244 crore, and Bank of India Rs 719 crore, among others.
February 15, 2022: CBI issues lookouts against developer Rishi Agarwal and ABG executives Santhanam Muthuswamy and Ashwini Kumar