The headquarters building of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stands in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg)

SEC Queries India’s ICICI on Governance, Accounting

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has sought details from India’s ICICI Bank Ltd. on its accounting and corporate governance practices, people familiar with the matter said.

The SEC’s queries center on ICICI’s dealings with certain borrowers under Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar and whether there had been misrepresentations in the bank’s accounting, the people said, asking not to be identified. The regulator is taking an interest because ICICI has American Depository Receipts traded in the U.S., the people added.

ICICI’s board has appointed a retired judge from India’s top court to examine allegations against Kochhar, people familiar with the matter said last month. Those allegations include claims of a “quid pro quo” in her dealings with certain of the bank’s borrowers, according to an ICICI exchange filing in May.

Kochhar is on leave pending the result of the internal probe, which comes as federal authorities separately conduct a so-called preliminary inquiry into alleged links between a local conglomerate and Kochhar’s husband.

The SEC queries to senior ICICI officials included a request for information on the bank’s accounting practices during five years up to 2016, the people said.

An ICICI Bank representative didn’t immediately respond to an email and a phone call seeking comment. A Washington-based spokesman for SEC declined to comment. Mint newspaper reported earlier Thursday on the SEC’s move.

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