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Probe Finds $270 Million Missing After Coffee King’s Suicide

V.G. Siddhartha
V.G. SiddharthaPhotographer: Priyanka Parashar/Mint via Getty Images
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An investigation into Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd., initiated by its board after the death of founder V.G. Siddhartha, is likely to conclude that at least 20 billion rupees ($270 million) is missing from its accounts, according to people familiar with the matter.

The months-long probe following the suicide of Siddhartha in July examined the financial transactions of India’s largest coffee chain and its dealings with dozens of private companies owned by the entrepreneur. The draft report, running more than a hundred pages, points to billions of rupees that have gone missing, said the people, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public. It also highlights hundreds of transactions between the founder’s listed and personal businesses that were not conducted at arm’s length, they said.

Though the report is in its final stages, the precise details could change before its release, expected as early as this week, the people said. The missing funds could total more than 25 billion rupees, one person said.

“The investigation report is still a work in progress, and not finalized,” a spokesman for the company said. “The board of directors and the company are unaware of its content at this point of time. Hence it would be premature to speculate on the investigation findings.”