February 16, 2018 / 11:38 AM / a month ago

India's fraud-hit PNB looking to monetize assets: source

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s fraud-hit Punjab National Bank (PNBK.NS) is considering monetizing its real estate assets, including a giant office space in New Delhi worth an estimated 50 billion rupees ($778.63 million), a bank source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The bank was looking to expedite the process after it said this week it has been hit with a $1.77 billion loan fraud, the biggest bank scam in the country’s history.

The bank would look to sell assets through a tendering process. “We are in talks with interested parties,” said the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Indian investigators raided the offices of jewelry retailer Gitanjali on Friday in a widening probe into the fraud.

The case is centered around diamond billionaire Nirav Modi who is accused of colluding with bank employees to fraudulently obtain advances for payments to overseas suppliers to his business stretching from New York to London to Beijing.

    Morgan Stanley estimated on Thursday if PNB had to assume all the liability from the fraud it would need 80 billion rupees ($1.25 billion) in additional capital, which at the stock’s current valuation would mean a 14 percent dilution.

    Reporting by Krishna Das; Editing by Sanjeev Miiglani

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