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Ebix says money laundering allegations are false; shares slide

By Sruthi Ramakrishnan

(Reuters) - Ebix Inc said allegations that it was involved in money laundering were false, after its shares tumbled on a Bloomberg report that federal investigators were reviewing the insurance software maker's cross-border financial transactions.

A former Ebix executive was asked by the FBI about the company's wiring of funds to operations in locations such as India, Sweden and Singapore, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. (http://link.reuters.com/jaz22v)

Ebix said in a statement on Tuesday that the Bloomberg article was "erroneous" and that "allegations of money laundering were false, inaccurate and likely to cause significant financial harm to Ebix shareholders."

A spokesman at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta did not comment on the matter. A Bloomberg spokeswoman said the news agency stood by its report.

Ebix shares fell as much as 30 percent to a low of $8.31 before closing down 7.5 percent at $10.91 on the Nasdaq.

The Bloomberg report comes after Ebix said in June that its planned merger with an affiliate of Goldman Sachs Group Inc was canceled after U.S. regulators started an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the company.

The report said one area of interest to FBI agents and attorneys for the Securities and Exchange Commission was Ebix's largest investor, the Rennes Foundation.

Ebix said on Monday it had no business or transactional relationship with any company affiliated with the Rennes Foundation except as an investor of the company.

Liechtenstein-based Rennes owned 9.6 percent of the company's stock, as of July 9.

The lead director of Rennes Foundation, Rolf Herter, was not immediately available for comment. Herter is also on the Ebix board.

Ebix has been dogged by allegations from short-sellers about inaccuracies in its financial statements since 2011.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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