The High Court has agreed to an $8 million assets forfeiture order between the Commissioner of Police and 8 companies & 2 individuals associated with the Masala restaurant chain.
Justice Rebecca Edwards said in her decision approving the settlement today: “The settlement sum of $8 million represents almost all of the unlawful benefit said to have been derived from the tax evasion offending. The settlement sum is expected to be met in full through the sale of restrained properties. Forfeiture in that amount meets the deterrence purposes of the forfeiture regime as set out in section 3 of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act. It also reduces the ability of those associated with the criminal activity to continue with that criminal enterprise.”
Inland Revenue, Immigration NZ & the Department of Labour began investigations in 2012 into companies & individuals involved with Masala. Justice Edwards said: “Those investigations identified widespread & systemic tax evasion & immigration-related offending by those involved with the Masala group….
“It has also been agreed as a condition of the proposed settlement that upon the assets forfeiture order being discharged by the Official Assignee, Inland Revenue will refrain from taking any steps to recover the outstanding tax, any related penalties & use-of-money interest.
“Neither this undertaking nor the settlement affects the ability of Inland Revenue to bring criminal charges for the conduct underlying the proceeding against the respondents, for example, in relation to tax evasion.
“As that particular condition does not concern the forfeiture of assets, it falls outside the terms of the settlement to be approved by the court.
“The respondents have also executed separate deeds of agreement as between themselves which relate to certain of the properties. Those agreements do not form part of the settlement for which approval is sought by the court.”
The 10 Masala group parties to the settlement were Joti Jain & Supinder Singh individually and 8 companies – Investments Ltd, JKK Holdings Ltd, JKK Trustees Ltd, Bluemoon Group Ltd, Akl Sunrise Co Ltd, DC Empires Ltd, CHK Investments Ltd & SRKK Group of Trustees Ltd.
Ms Jain & Rajwinder Singh Grewal were sentenced in 2015 to home detention and ordered to pay reparations on a long list of immigration & exploitation charges.