No relief for Meghraj group pension scheme members

The pension plan founder, Anant Shah, has expressed inability to pay £1.8 million into the scheme as directed by Upper Tribunal

Representational image: iStock

Shajil Kumar

Former staff of Meghraj Bank face uncertainty after its Asian businessman founder told a tribunal he could no longer make a payment to The Pensions Regulator, according to a media report.

Anant Shah and his brother Vipin set up the bank in 1972, and it closed in 2000.

Meghraj Financial Services Ltd is a subsidiary of Meghraj Group of companies, an international investment and banking advisory and fiduciary services firm headquartered in the British Isles.

The liquidation of Meghraj Financial Services in 2014 left the pension plan with a deficit of approximately £5.85 million.

Meghraj group pensioners’ pensions have remained restricted since 2014.

Private Eye said in a report this week that Shah told the tribunal he had few assets and limited income after giving away his wealth. The tribunal decided it lacked “cogent evidence of the complete picture” of his finances.

His family had previously funded his legal costs before he represented himself, as well as assisting his wife’s purchase of £800,000 property, the report added.

The magazine said the enforcement team of The Pension Protection Fund is reportedly handling the enforcement of the contribution notice against the Shah.

A UK tribunal last July upheld a decision by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to issue a contribution notice for Anant Shah, the former owner of the Meghraj Group Pension Scheme, to pay £1.8m into the scheme.

After liquidation in 2014, the Meghraj Group Pension Scheme was taken over by the Pension Protection Fund, and six years later TPR issued contribution notices claiming £3.7m jointly from Anant Shah and his nephew Rohin Shah.

Both referred the decision to the Upper Tribunal, but Rohin Shah settled with TPR for an undisclosed sum before the hearing.

The tribunal agreed with TPR that it was reasonable that Anant Shah should pay a contribution notice, which included 50 per cent of the sum that should have been paid into the plan, in addition to an uplift to account for the passage of time.