It has been a rough week for one of the richest men on Earth after a large swath of his wealth was wiped away following a report alleging billions of dollars in fraud.
Gautam Adani, formerly the world’s third-richest man, was knocked down to fourth place after his company was accused of “a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades,” according to Time magazine.
Shares in Adani Group companies took a hit of more than $50 billion following the report.
By Friday, Adani’s personal net worth had dropped by more than $7 billion, the outlet reported.
The investment research firm Hindenburg Research released a report Tuesday about Adani’s alleged malpractices, sending shockwaves through the financial world.
In its findings, the product of two years of investigation, the New York-based Hindenburg said Adani had added “over $100 billion in the past 3 years largely through stock price appreciation in the group’s 7 key listed companies, which have spiked an average of 819% in that period.”
“Even if you ignore the findings of our investigation and take the financials of Adani Group at face value, its 7 key listed companies have 85% downside purely on a fundamental basis owing to sky-high valuations,” the report said.
The firm also said Adani’s companies have “taken on substantial debt, including pledging shares of their inflated stock for loans, putting the entire group on precarious financial footing.”
“5 of 7 key listed companies have reported ‘current ratios’ below 1, indicating near-term liquidity pressure,” the report said.
On top of the alleged financial malpractice, Hindenburg noted that Adani’s brothers and other associates of the group have been accused of bribery and tax evasion.
Younger brother Rajesh Adani was accused by India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence of “playing a central role in a diamond trading import/export scheme around 2004-2005,” it said. “The alleged scheme involved the use of offshore shell entities to generate artificial turnover.”
“Rajesh was arrested at least twice over separate allegations of forgery and tax fraud.”
The alleged scheme involved the use of offshore shell entities to generate artificial turnover. Rajesh was arrested at least twice over separate allegations of forgery and tax fraud.
He was subsequently promoted to serve as Managing Director of Adani Group. (11/x) pic.twitter.com/Rf1uJqlKoZ
— Hindenburg Research (@HindenburgRes) January 25, 2023
Hindenburg said it found that older brother Vinod Adani “manages a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities” via “several close associates.”
The report said shell entities established in tax havens such as Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates and the Caribbean allegedly allowed the Adani family to generate “forged import/export documentation in an apparent effort to generate fake or illegitimate turnover and to siphon money from the listed companies.”
Gautam Adani got his start in the 1980s as an industrialist commodity trader, launching the Adani Group in 1988.
The group boasts a broad portfolio, owning and operating major infrastructure facilities such as airports, coal mines and ports in India and across the world, according to Time.
As of April, Adani held a net worth of around $118 billion, making him the world’s third-richest man behind Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
The Adani Group released a statement Thursday in response to the Hindenburg report, calling it a “malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless, and discredited allegations.”
The statement did not address any of the allegations directly.
Media statement – II on a report published by Hindenburg Research pic.twitter.com/Yd2ufHUNRX
— Adani Group (@AdaniOnline) January 26, 2023
The Adani Group threatened legal action against Hindenburg.
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