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Atlas Jewellery owner gets three years in prison

Marie Nammour (Senior Reporter)/Dubai
Filed on November 12, 2015
Atlas Jewellery owner gets three years in prison


(http://atlasjewellery.blogspot.ae/)


(File photo)

The owner of Atlas Jewellery was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday by the Court of Misdemeanours in a case of bounced cheques.

A court, presided over by judge Ahmed Abdelmohsen Shiha, found 74-year-old M.M. Ramachandran guilty of issuing two bounced cheques worth Dh34 million.

The Indian businessman is accused of issuing the dud cheques to a local bank.

This is the second scandal involving Dubai jewellery businesses since the city's rise to prominence as a gold trading centre. In March 2010, Dubai sanctioned three brothers for unauthorised withdrawals from their company of 1.94 kg of gold and cash worth about 365 million dirhams.

Banking and trade sources said the gold retailer had defaulted on loans worth about 500 million dirhams and banks were considering options including legal action to retrieve their money.

The sources said some 15 mostly local banks had granted loans to Atlas Jewellery, which has more than 50 branches across the Gulf and India.

Also read: Atlas Jewellery case: Who is MM Ramachandran?

After his arrest, the company asked banks for time to put together a repayment plan.

He has been in provisional detention since he was arrested by the police in August in connection with the case.

His lawyers are expected to appeal the ruling.

The fraud

Nov 12, 2015

Sentenced to 3 year jail by Dubai court October 28, 2015 - Maas Group  has agreed to invest in Atlas Jewellery Group's business in the UAE and in its healthcare business in Oman, representatives of both companies announced. Maas Group has chosen to invest in Atlas Jewellery considering the trust imposed by millions in the Group.

September 2

Debt-ridden Atlas Jewellery assured its lenders about repayment plan that involves the disposal of all its assets in the GCC to settle liabilities estimated at over Dh500 million. Indira Ramachandran, wife of the beleaguered owner of the jewellery chain, led the Atlas team and discussed with representatives of 20 creditor banks various options to pay back their dues.

September 1

Bail Rejected -  Dubai Public Prosecution rejected a bail request submitted by the owner of Atlas Jewellery.

August 23

73-year-old Indian businessman, M.M.Ramachandran, owner of Atlas Jewellery and his daughter were detained by police after receiving five complaints against him from about 15 banks over bounced cheques worth Dh55 million.

February 2015

As per ToI report, the income tax department raided 23 branches of the group, including Thrissur, Coimbatore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi, in February this year. Tax evasions to the tune of Rs30 million came to light, according to the report.

Salesmen listed as Atlas board members - Indian nationals Lukoo Sugunan Madathiparambil and Ajith Muruleedharan Kovoorilwere were small time employees of the company - but they were, in fact, listed as senior board members of the jewellery conglomerate.

About Atlas Group

- Atlas Jewellery was established in 1981.

- Million plus customers with over 50 establishments and a store in every major business market in the GCC.

- 45 showrooms in UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and India Manufacturing  Units.

- Estimated worth $1.1 billion

- Business interests include: Gems and Jewellery, Healthcare, Multimedia and Real Estate with focus on building luxurious and affordable Residential/Commercial Complex and Multiplexes.

- The Atlas Studio has two state of the art facilities - Studio  One and Studio Deux in Dubai handling film processing, printing, restoration, corporate events, advertising and related multi-media assignments.

- Atlas Healthcare was founded in 2004. In Oman, there are two state-of-the-art centers that offers complete medical services, one in Al Ghoubra, Muscat and the other in Ruwi, Muscat Atlas Jewellery is one of the famous jewelers.

- It opened its first outlet in Kuwait City in the 1980s. The company moved its headquarters to the UAE in the early 90s.

Ramachandran set up his Dubai jewellery outlet in 1989. In the late 90s, he diversified into the real estate and healthcare sectors. He owns the following companies:

- UAE ATLAS Jewellery LLC

- ATLAS Jewellery FZCO

- Qatar ATLAS Jewellery WLL

- Oman ATLAS International

- Bahrain ATLAS Jewellery SPC

- Saudi Arabia ATLAS Jewellery

- Kuwait ATLAS Jewellery International

- ATLAS Plaza Jewellery WLC

- ATLAS Jewellery Private Limited

- 3 Showrooms in India, including 2 in Kerala and 1 in Tamil Nadu

- 2 export units in India; 5 manufacturing units in GCC and India

Within a short span of its establishment ATLAS became a market leader & a household name in the GCC world. The 90's Gulf War changed everything for Dr. Ramachandran. He lost everything in the gulf war. Left with no option he shifted base to United Arab Emirates to start all over again.

Over the next few years not only did Dr. Ramachandran rebuild but he came back stronger than ever. He introduced the concept of mega-offers in the regional gold trade and his expert execution of a seemingly never ending blitz of sales promotions helped rocket ATLAS to dizzying heights.

From gold bars to luxurious cars, shoppers have had the chance to win some incredible prizes.

mary@khaleejtimes.com (with inputs from Reuters)

As it happened:

Atlas Group receives a lifeline

When Atlas listed salesmen as board members

Atlas meets banks, vows to sell assets

Bail plea of Atlas owner rejected; trial in 2 weeks

Atlas Jewellery owner, daughter detained in Dubai





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