California State Holds $93K of Former Prince Dhirendra Shah

In an exclusive report, it has come to light that an unclaimed sum of nearly $93,000 US dollars is currently held by the California State Controller’s Office, associated with former  Prince Dhirendra Shah. Investigative efforts by Khasokhas have revealed that the amount of $93,434.27 (equivalent to approximately 12.5 million Nepalese rupees based on current exchange rates) remains dormant within an account under Shah’s name at the California State Comptroller’s office. The rightful claimants of this sum, including Dhirendra Shah’s heirs, authorized representatives, or the government, have yet to step forward to assert their rights to the funds.

The origins of this unclaimed sum trace back to 1986 when Dhirendra Shah first arrived in the United States. He initiated a bank account at the Bank of America’s San Francisco main branch, initially depositing $100,000. However, during his US visit, a substantial portion of this deposit was gradually expended. Although Shah’s activities with the bank account ceased upon his return to Nepal, the account’s dormancy eventually led to its closure, triggering a report to the state controller’s office. Accounting for inflation, the $93,000 from 1986 corresponds to an approximate value of $240,000 in today’s currency.

Bank of America officials clarified that the closure of the account and subsequent reporting to the state controller adhered to established protocols dictating the closure of accounts inactive for three consecutive years. On June 2, 1994, from his residence in Nepal, Dhirendra Shah transmitted a fax to Bank of America from his fax number 977 1 410655 to stake his claim over the remaining funds. In response, the bank issued a faxed reply on June 9, 1994. While fax communication was not the bank’s standard practice, this mode of response was deemed expedient given the urgency of the matter. Bank records confirm that the account was officially closed and reported to the state controller on February 28, 1991.

The legal requirement to close and report dormant accounts to the state controller after three years was a prevailing norm at the time. Given the proclivity of royal family members to establish bank accounts in various nations, it is plausible that Shah overlooked the existence of his American account.

Following the bank’s response, Dhirendra Shah engaged with the California State Comptroller’s Office. On July 14, 1995, the office furnished a reply to Shah’s inquiry. Subsequently, on August 2, 1995, Shah formally communicated with the state controller’s office, asserting his ownership of the funds. Accompanying his claim was a copy of his passbook. In an attempt to facilitate the transfer of the funds, Shah designated his friend, Purushottam Das Goyal, with a Hong Kong account, as the recipient. Shah provided the relevant details, including his Kathmandu and American addresses—Post Box No. 1971 and Post Box No. 37001 on Montgomery Street, respectively. Notably, Shah’s Bank of America account number was 00334 33887. However, Shah’s request to redirect the funds to his friend’s account was denied due to prevailing policies against transferring funds to accounts not directly associated with the claimant.

The unfortunate demise of Dhirendra Shah at the age of 51, resulting from the Darbar murder case on June 1, 2001, adds a layer of complexity to the situation. As of the present, the unclaimed $93,000 remains within the custody of the California state government. While his daughters retain the potential right to stake their claim, no successful endeavors have been made to access the funds. Even the Nepal government’s efforts to secure the funds have yet to yield results.