India widens Satyam probe

20 January 2009

Authorities in India have ordered the country's Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to investigate two companies owned by the founders of Satyam over their possible links to a £1 billion accounting fraud, it has been reported.

Company affairs minister Prem Chand Gupta confirmed that the government has authorized the seizure of accounts and records belonging to Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra, Bloomberg stated.

Satyam founder and ex-chairman Ramalinga Raju, who confessed on January 7th to conducting the fraud, had previously stated that the IT firm had tried to buy the companies in a last-ditch attempt to put genuine assets on its books.

"There seems to be a nexus between the events that have taken place in Satyam and Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra," Mr Gupta said.

Last week, the SFIO said it is also investigating possible insider trading linked to Mr Raja's confession, as several transactions involving Satyam stock were carried out in the days leading up to his revelations.

News of fraud wiped more than 80 per cent off Satyam's shares.

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