Monday, August 10, 2020
Follow us on
International

SP Hinduja and Daughters Sole Owners of Swiss Bank’

June 29, 2020 06:32 AM

COURTESY ET JUNE 29

SP Hinduja and Daughters Sole Owners of Swiss Bank’
Other three brothers neither execs nor shareholders, wrongly using letter to try and take control, say sources
Saloni.Shukla@timesgroup.com

Mumbai: Srichand Parmanand (SP) Hinduja and his daughters Shanu and Vinoo are the whole and sole owners of the Switzerland-headquartered Hinduja Bank, and SP’s three brothers — Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok — are neither executives not shareholders of the bank, sources close to the SP Hinduja family told ET. There was thus no need to consult them before appointing Shanu’s son, Karam Hinduja, as the bank’s CEO.

These sources also said that in May 2015, SP Hinduja had tried to repudiate a July 2014 agreement which had said that the “brothers appoint each other as their executors, and the assets held in any single brother’s name belong to all four”. The claim by the three brothers that Hinduja Bank does not exclusively belong to SP Hinduja is on the basis of this agreement.

 

Ongoing Litigation in London Court Started in November 2019

One of persons cited above said that in 2016, SP had made a witness statement declaring that the letter signed between the four brothers did not reflect his wishes, and that the family’s assets should be divided. Following this, SP had sent an email communication to the other three brothers stating that he did not consider himself legally or morally bound by the letter.

“Evidence has been submitted in the London court that SP had sought a meeting on May 2, 2015, with the other three brothers to convince them to recant the letter, but Gopi and Ashok were not in favour of it,” said one of the sources. “The three brothers are now wrongly using the letter to try and take control.”

The ongoing litigation in the London court started in November last year. Vinoo is seeking to have the July 2014 agreement declared null and void. The two sisters are said to be seeking a 25% stake in the $13-billion (by revenue) Hinduja empire, as per a legal source.

One of the sources close to the SP Hinduja family said the three brothers were neither executives nor shareholders of the bank, and hence there was no need for dialogue before making senior-level appointments. The family is also upset by the fact that the three had attempted to take control of the bank in 2018, citing their elder brother’s lack of capacity to run it.

“The uncles have not been consulted because the bank is wholly owned by SP, there is no debate about that at all,” a source closely involved with dealings of both the families said. “While the uncles are debating the division of the estate, the ownership of the bank is undisputedly with SP, wholly and solely. It’s not about not consulting them, it’s more to do with the fact that they are not allowed to be consulted. They are not executive members or shareholders of the bank.”

Email queries sent to representatives of the four Hinduja brothers remained unanswered till press time.

The dispute that has been simmering for four years, came into the open last week after a London court allowed Vinoo, SP’s younger daughter, to act as his ‘litigation friend’ to safeguard his interests, since he is said to be suffering from a form of dementia.

A statement signed by the other three Hinduja brothers had contested SP’s claim. The other brothers contend that the assets are jointly owned, and ownership should vest with a trust. “It is very unfortunate that these proceedings are taking place as they go against our founder’s and family’s values and principles that have stood for many decades, especially, ‘everything belongs to everyone and nothing belongs to anyone’,” the statement had said.

Two other legal proceedings are also said to be underway — one in the UK and the second in Switzerland. There is also said to be a property dispute, which is being litigated in the UK.

Founded in Geneva in 1994, Hinduja Bank’s operations span across five countries. While SP’s elder daughter Shanu is the chairwoman of the bank, her son Karam took over as CEO in March as per his LinkedIn page. He and his sister Lavanya had legally adopted the Hinduja name after their mother’s divorce

Have something to say? Post your comment
More International News