India group loses $60bn after US short-seller alleges corporate fraud
New Delhi, Jan 30 (EFE).- India’s Adani Group was on Monday locked in a bitter war of words with a New York-based short seller over a report that alleged massive corporate fraud and led to stock losses worth an estimated $60 billion of the conglomerate.
The business group, led by Gautam Adani, one of the world’s richest men, said the probe report by Hindenburg Research was a “malicious combination of selective misinformation.”
It said the report “concealed facts relating to baseless and discredited allegations to drive an ulterior motive” and was an attack on India.
Billionaire Adani’s group planned to raise Rs 200 billion (nearly $2.5 billion) with a follow-on public offer (FPO) of flagship Adani Enterprises that ends on Tuesday.
However, the Hindenburg report released on Jan.24 has jeopardized the offer.
In early November, Forbes estimated the billionaire at $150 billion fortune, ranking him third on the list of the world’s richest people.
On Monday, the business magazine said the 60-year-old businessman had a net worth of $88 billion, dropping to the eighth spot.
The report alleged that the infrastructure and commodities business group had committed massive stock manipulation and accounting fraud to inflate the profits of its debt-ridden firms.
Since the release of the report, the conglomerate and the short seller have traded barbs.
“It is tremendously concerning that the statements of an entity sitting thousands of miles away, with no credibility or ethics has caused serious and unprecedented adverse impact on our investors,” the conglomerate said.
“This is not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and ambition of India.”
Responding to Adani’s counter-accusation, running into a 413-page response, Hinderburg Research Monday said that a “fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism or a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised.”
“The Adani Group has attempted to conflate its meteoric rise and the wealth of its chairman, Gautam Adani, with the success of India itself,” the short-seller said.
The US firm said its report detailed a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities directed by or associated with Vinod Adani, the older brother of Gautam Adani.
“We believe that fraud is a fraud, even when perpetrated by one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. EFE