Sri Ram Tumuluri

Investigation: Controversial Canadian-Indian businessman Sri Ram Tumuluri

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Controversial businessman Sri Ram Tumuluri was recently arrested by the Dubai police – as part of a financial corruption investigation – over several bounced cheques. He remains on bail and under investigation in the Middle Eastern state.

The Government have said that the investigation is ongoing, and that Tumuluri will be banned from the country if he doesn’t settle his debts.

Following his arrest, this report takes a deeper look into the murky world of Ram Tumuluri’s business dealings across the world.

The journalist’s killing

The report mentions how Celebrated Malta journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in October 2017 in a car bomb near her home within weeks after announcing that she would be exposing several financial scandals of controversial Canadian businessman Sri Ram Tumuluri, spent several years investigating Ram Tumuluri till her tragic murde

Although Maltese national brothers George Degiorgio and his brother Alfred have confessed to the killing but close associates of Daphne Caruana Galizia have said the Malta authorities have not investigated the murder properly and several questions remain unanswered.

The murdered journalist had written in detail about the financial crimes of Sri Ram Tumuluri. The journalist, who had also worked on Panama Papers scandal, had written dozens of articles on Sri Rama Tumuluri and was set to release a big story when she was killed. Her assassination rocked Malta.

Through her “Running Commentary” blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia dedicated a considerable amount of time and resource to exposing Ram Tumuluri. Before her untimely death, in various articles on her popular site, she described Ram Tumuluri as: Ram Tumuluri “a fraudster with a shedload of unpaid debts in Canada”, Ram Tumuluri “the man of questionable repute” who corrupted nurses and Ram Tumuluri “the shyster from British Columbia” who had “stolen $400,000 from hotel bank accounts” in British Columbia and “destroyed the accounting books and left”.

Corrupt payments to Govt official

Ram Tumuluri was recently thrust again into limelight after evidence emerged that his UK-based Causis Group made several undeclared and corrupt payments in 2015 to Carmen Ciantar, the chief political advisor of Malta’s health minister Chris Fearne.

She resigned from her role after evidence was released that Carmen Ciantar received a total of €443,500 Euros from Gozo International Medicare Ltd – part of the VGH group. The money came from the firm’s account at the Dubai-headquartered Emirates NBD Bank.

Early career:

Ram Tumuluri was born in the Indian city of Hyderabad to Satynarayana Tumuluri and Bharti Tumuluri, a Brahmin middle class family with no business history. Ram Tumuluri has claimed he received an undergraduate degree from Osmania University in Culinary Arts. Osmania University said it does not offer culinary courses. The controversial businessman has claimed that he went to the London School of Economics (LSE) but the LSE administration has said it has no record of Ram Tumuluri ever enrolling in any discipline or ever graduating from the prestigious institution.

Indian failures:

In India, Ram Tumuluri established the Ayucare brand under his company Holistic Healthcare. The businessman has fostered the impression that his company had taken the country by a storm; in reality one of the main spas was a bungalow in a residential area and the business folded after a few years after making huge losses. In 2008 his vehicle Tumuluri Hospitality Inc invested INR10m (equivalent to US$230k) in the company. At the time this was a significant investment considering only a few years before, Ram Tumuluri had left Marriott Hotels in Alberta, Canada to work as senior manager of the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, Canada. The investment ended in a failure and today there is no signage for Ayucare or Holistic Health and a banner advertising the leasing of the property hangs outside.

United States of America:

In the United States, Ram Tumuluri married Phrasavath Douangmala and they divorced in April 2003. His history in the US spans from approximately 1998 until 2004. He resided in Chicago, Illinois. In the divorce records, Tumuluri’s date of birth in the Milwaukee County divorce court documents is recorded as September rather than May 1975. It is unclear whether this was a deliberate attempt to avoid leaving a trail. Corporate registries in the US have Tumuluri as director of a real estate development company struck off in 2014 for not filing annual returns.  Tumuluri is identified in US records with social security number 340 ***1 issued in Illinois in 1998.

Canada bankruptcies and failures: 

Tumuluri subsequently moved to Canada, where his business practices set the hallmark for a pattern of behaviour repeated throughout his career to date. All his firms were dissolved due to non-filing of company accounts. Litigation records spell out the details of claims such as misuse of company funds and failure to provide accounting information to business partners. His projects all failed and left behind a string of claims by creditors ranging from mortgage providers to smaller unpaid suppliers. Notably, throughout his period in Canada, Tumuluri owned a property on only one occasion.

The Russia connection:

Investigation in an American publication has revealed that Sri Ram Tumuluri’s partner in the Indian Rs2,800-crore electric buses deal, Thomas-Christan Seitz is known for close ties with the Kremlin and has worked for the interests of Russia’s feared spy agency KGB – now called the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

Two years ago, Ram Tumuluri’s England & Wales registered Causis Group Ltd won a tender for supplying The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) with 1,400 electric vehicles. Causis, registered in the UK but without any operations, is wholly owned by Tumuluri. Its operating entity is India-registered Causis E-Mobility Pvt Ltd. The Russian connection of Ram Tumuluri was covered very widely.

Expose in Indian media:

Ram Tumuluri’s latest The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) project is a big scandal. He signed with the Indian govt in October 2021. The project was set to start within two months but to date there is no sign of the project making any headway and Indian authorities have briefed media that Ram Tumuluri has failed to raise funds of around $8 billion to implement the Rs2,800-crore electric buses deal with the Mumbai authorities.

Indian govt sources said: “Causis is using the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maharashtra Government as a security but banks are demanding sovereign guarantee from the state government, which has not been approved by the government. Causis is struggling to arrange debt and their efforts are ongoing but it is evident Causis has so far failed to find any credible lenders. On paper, there are lots of promises but there is zero delivery so far.”

Dubai investigation

Tumuluri claims to have two UAE entities, Mount Everest Global Trading and VGH Dubai. Records show he did attempt to raise funding in the UAE for the Malta PPP project but this was not successful. He was facilitated in this through the office and contacts of Mohammed Hanif Shaikh, Chairman of Emirates Holding Group. Both companies have shut their operations after failures. Intelligence reports say Ram Tumuluri has recently been questioned by the Dubai authorities for using the country as a pad to do corrupt deals.

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