Distressed assets investor WL Ross pays Rs 1.1Cr to SEBI to settle Spicejet case

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross-headed global private equity group WL Ross has paid Rs 1.1 crore to Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to settle its pending case over its past share transactions in Indian carrier Spicejet India Ltd.

WL Ross had picked stake in Spicejet five years ago and later sold it to Kalanithi Maran of Sun Group.

SEBI suspected possible violations of norms and issued a show-cause notice to WL Ross in August 2011 over alleged failure to make a public announcement to acquire shares of the target company in terms of regulation 10 of SAST Regulations and suppressing the information thereby attempting to mislead the regulator as well as public at large in violation of regulation 45(5) of SAST Regulations.

It also alleged that the shares and voting rights under Sale and Purchase Agreement were segregated and separately transferred prior to completion of the open offer formalities in violation of regulation 22(16) of SAST Regulations.

The noticees were WL Ross’ affiliated entities WLR Recovery III (India), WLR Recovery IV/ESC (India), India Asset Recovery Fund and WLR/GS (India).

Last year, WL Ross group had filed a settlement plea for consent order by SEBI and offered Rs 1.1 crore. Early this year the consent terms were approved by SEBI's high powered advisory committee (HPAC) and the panel of whole-time members.

Last month the money was remitted and SEBI granted its consent order on Thursday disposing of the adjudication proceedings initiated against the entities with immediate effect. The market watchdog, however, said that enforcement actions, including commencing or reopening of the proceedings, could be initiated if any representation made by WL Ross entities is found to be untrue.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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