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ICICI Bank, Kochhar face US regulatory probe; Indian agencies may seek foreign help

Monday, June 11, 2018

As multi-agency probe continues in India into alleged lapses involving ICICI Bank's chief Chanda Kochhar and her family members, the matter has also come under the scanner of the US markets regulator SEC.

Besides, the Indian regulators and investigative agencies are mulling seeking help from their overseas counterparts including in Mauritius as part of their own probes, officials said. When asked about its probe into matters related to ICICI Bank and Kochhar, a spokesperson for the SEC Office of Public Affairs declined to comment.

The queries sent to ICICI Bank also remained unanswered. The bank has already instituted an independent enquiry into allegations of 'conflict of interest' and 'quid pro quo' in Kochhar's dealing with certain borrowers.

Earlier in March, when the reports first surfaced in this regard, the bank had said that its board has "full confidence and reposes full faith" in Kochhar.

Sources said the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is actively looking into the matter as ICICI Bank is listed in the US also and it may seek further details from its Indian counterpart the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), which has already issued show-cause notices to ICICI Bank and Kochhar as part of its probe.

Officials said the Sebi has been approached for some clarificatory details which would be provided to the bank and its CEO, among others to whom notices have been served.

Those looking into the matter also include the banking regulator RBI and the Corporate Affairs Ministry, while the CBI had earlier registered a preliminary enquiry against Kochhar's husband, among others, and extensively questioned her brother-in-law in April. The cases under scanner include the bank's Rs 3,250 crore loan to Videocon Group in 2012 and the involvement of Kochhar family members in restructuring of the loan.

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