India state lender Punjab National Bank plunges after uncovering fresh $554m fraud

State lender Punjab National Bank said a vast majority of the fraud took place at its Chandigarh branch, and also involved offices in Hong Kong and Dubai
India state lender Punjab National Bank plunges after uncovering fresh $554m fraud
PNB said Bhushan misappropriated bank funds and manipulated account books to raise money from consortium lender banks.
By Bloomberg
Mon 08 Jul 2019 12:02 PM

State lender Punjab National Bank paced losses in the Nifty Bank Index on Monday after it disclosed another incident of fraud amounting to 38 billion rupees ($554 million), roughly one year after it suffered through the country’s costliest banking scandal.

Shares of the New Delhi-based lender fell 9.3% at 10:24 a.m. in Mumbai, making it the worst performer in the 12-member Nifty Bank Index, which was down 1.4%.

The new case relates to the non-performing assets of insolvent Indian firm Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd., PNB said in a filing on Saturday. It reported the fraud to the Reserve Bank of India and made provisions worth 19.3 billion rupees.

PNB said Bhushan misappropriated bank funds and manipulated account books to raise money from consortium lender banks. A vast majority of the fraud took place at PNB’s Chandigarh branch, and also involved offices in Hong Kong and Dubai. The bank said it expects a “good recovery” from the insolvency case, which is currently before the National Company Law Tribunal.

The announcement is a fresh blow to PNB, which uncovered India’s biggest-ever bank fraud last year. That nearly $2 billion scandal was allegedly perpetrated by jeweller-to-the-stars Nirav Modi, who was arrested by U.K. police at the request of Indian authorities and is embroiled in an extradition process. Modi denies wrongdoing.

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