Pearls group: Investigators track over $100m from Indian scam to Australia

Authorities in India investigating one of the wor

The Pearls group of companies scammed 50 million Indians, many of them living in poverty, out of $10 billion.

Former Australian fast bowler, Brett Lee, had been the face of one of the company’s advertising campaigns — although there is no suggestion that he knew of the claims of fraudulent dealing.

But now Australian Government officials, businessmen and even political parties have become caught up in the mess.

A company associated with Pearls donated $35,000 to the Liberal National Party and $3,600 to Labor.

Electoral disclosure records show Metro Pearls Madison, which has links to the Pearls group of companies in India, made a $10,000 donation to the LNP fundraiser Forward Brisbane Leadership in 2011 and a further $25,000 to the LNP in early 2012.

The founder of the Pearls Group, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, was arrested in India last month for allegedly running one of the world’s largest ever Ponzi investment schemes.

Indian authorities said at least $133 million of Pearls money was invested in Australia.

The Indian Pearls group was introduced to Australia by Austrade in 2009.

This led to the setting up of the company Pearls Australasia, which was provided with $100 million in capital by the Pearls companies in India.

ld’s biggest ever financial scams have tracked more than $100 million to Australia.