Sebi probes MCX,FTIL for possible listing agreement violations

Tags: News
Capital market regulator Sebi has begun a probe into possible listing agreement violations by MCX and FTIL in the wake of the PwC audit report on the commodity exchange pointing

to various discrepancies including those pertaining to related party transactions.

Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL), the flagship firm of Jignesh Shah group, is the erstwhile promoter of MCX. Both are listed companies.

Following the Rs 5,600-crore payment crisis at National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), part of Shah group, FTIL as well as other group entities, including MCX have come under the regulatory spotlight.

Sources said that Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has started a probe to look into whether MCX and FTIL violated listing agreement norms.

The investigation comes in the wake of PwC's special audit report pointing various discrepancies at MCX, including with regard to related party transactions, sources said.

Among others, the PwC audit revealed that commodity exchange MCX entered into agreements with related trading parties and paid about Rs 709 crore to FTIL and group firms without following proper documentation process.

Commodity market regulator FMC had appointed PwC in December last year to audit books of MCX, against the backdrop of NSEL payment crisis.

In the report, which was released partially by MCX late last month, PwC alleged other inconsistencies and gaps in the way MCX processed the related party transactions and expressed doubts whether these agreements were conducted "on an arm-length basis".

FTIL had set up MCX in 2003 but it no more controls the exchange even as the company has 26 per cent stake in it.

Among others, the report had said that commercial terms and conditions agreed by MCX with related parties were not substantiated by any underlying market benchmarking or competitive bidding process.

"Additionally, there was limited or no supporting documentation available to evidence the existence, adequacy and robustness of price discovery mechanism which may have been adopted by MCX. Therefore, it is not possible to conclude whether various related party agreements and transactions were indeed conducted on an arms-length basis," the report had said.

Rejecting the report, FTIL had said it would take legal action against the bourse and PwC for painting a wrong picture in the report.

Late last month, MCX released parts of the PwC report on BSE with disclaimers that "contents are yet to be independently verified by the company" and "the contents should not be construed to be allegations on the parties named".

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