ED probing beneficiary of Rs 425 cr IPL facilitation fee

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the "actual beneficiary" of the Rs 425 crore facilitation fee paid for award of 10-year media rights for the IPL cricket matches to World Sports Group in 2009.

The government, in an Action Taken report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, said the award of media rights by the BCCI to the World Sports Group and also the allegation of payment of facilitation fee by Multi Screen Media Singapore of Rs 425 crore are being investigated.

"Investigation is being carried out (by Enforcement Directorate) to identify the actual beneficiary of the facilitation fee," the report tabled in Parliament said.

The money was paid to World Sports Group (WSG), Mauritius, under a deed for provision of facilitation services dated March 25, 2009.

BCCI, in 2008, awarded the 10-year media rights to WSG on payment of USD 918 million. In the same year WSG also entered into a deal with Multi Screen Media to make Sony the official broadcaster. The contract was replaced a year later with a nine-year deal where Multi Screen paid USD 1.63 billion.

"Investigation is being conducted in respect of award of media rights by the BCCI to WSG and the allegation of payment of facilitation fee by Multi Screen Media Singapore (Pte) Ltd for an amount equivalent to Rs 425 crore to WSG Mauritius," the report said.

On the separate issue of foreign exchange payment guarantees by the BCCI-IPL for auction of foreign players, the report said the investigation so far has revealed that the cricketing body had extended guarantees to the tune of USD 18.6 million in violation of FEMA rules.

"Investigations in this regard are at an advanced stage," it said. Also, during the IPL-II held in South Africa in April-May
2009, BCCI remitted an amount of USD 49.86 million without permission of the RBI for opening and/or operating foreign currency account in the African nation.

Besides, 19 show-cause notices involving a total amount of Rs 2,042.45 crore have been issued for contravention of FEMA provisions.
The FEMA violations, the report said, relates to ownership of IPL franchises, nature of foreign investments and valuation of shares and transfer thereof in respect of some franchises.

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