NEW DELHI, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Millions of dollars have been invested in some publicly traded shares of India’s Adani Group by “blurred” Mauritian funds that have “obscured” the involvement of alleged business associates of the Adani family, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. (OCCRP) said in an article on Thursday.
Citing a review of files from multiple tax havens and internal Adani Group emails, the global nonprofit network of investigative journalists said it had found at least two instances where investors bought and sold Adani shares through these offshore structures.
Shares of Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS), the group’s flagship company, fell 2% after the report was published, while shares of Adani Ports (APSE.NS), Adani Power (ADAN.NS) and Adani Green (ADNA) fell. NS). Shares of Adani Total Gas (ADAG.NS) and Adani Wilmar (ADAW.NS) fell between 1% and 2% each.
The OCCRP article comes after Hindenburg Research, a US-based short-selling firm, accused the Adani Group in January of improper business dealings, including using offshore entities in tax havens such as Mauritius where it said some offshore funds owned He “surreptitiously” shares in Adani. Listed companies.
The Adani Group called Hindenburg’s claims misleading and without evidence and said it always complied with the laws.
However, days after the January report, Adani Group shares lost $150 billion of their market value and remained down about $100 billion after recovering in recent months after paying down some debts and restoring some investor confidence.
In a statement to OCCRP, the Adani Group said the Mauritian funds investigated by the journalists were actually mentioned in the Hindenburg report and that “the allegations are not only baseless and baseless, but have been recast from Hindenburg’s allegations.”
“It has been categorically confirmed that all publicly listed entities in the Adani Group comply with all applicable laws including regulations relating to public stock holdings,” she told OCCRP, according to the news article.
Reuters has not independently verified OCCRP’s assertions.
Adani Group said it categorically rejects what it called the recycled allegations “in their entirety,” adding that the timing of the news reports was suspicious, harmful and malicious.
Hindenburg Saga, Organizational Inquiry
The Hindenburg report dealt a heavy blow to Gautam Adani, the billionaire who leads a consortium of port-to-energy companies and was, until January, the third richest person in the world. The crisis forced him to delay a $2.5 billion share sale and convince banks of his business credentials.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court of India appointed a committee to oversee the investigation of the market regulator based on the Hindenburg Report. The committee said in May that the regulator had so far “left a void” in investigations into suspected abuses in overseas investments in the Adani Group.
Last week, the regulator said its report was nearing completion and that its investigations into some offshore deals were taking time because some of the entities were located in tax haven jurisdictions. She added that the regulatory body “must take appropriate action based on the results of the investigations.”
The regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the OCCRP report.
The OCCRP report on Thursday named two individual investors who made the investments investigated in its article — Nasir Ali Shaban Ahli and Zhang Zhongling — whom OCCRP described as “longtime business partners” of the Adani family.
The media organization said there was no evidence that Chang and Ahli’s money for their investments came from the Adani family, but said its reports and documents – including an agreement, company records and email – showed there was “evidence” that their trading in Adani shares “was coordinated with the family.” “
“The question of whether this arrangement constitutes a violation of the law depends on whether Ahly and Zhang should be considered to be acting on behalf of Adani promoters, a term used in India to refer to the majority of business owners.” He said.
If so, OCCRP said, their stake in Adani’s holdings would exceed the 75% insider ownership limit.
Ahly and Zhang did not respond to OCCRP’s requests for comment, according to the news article. Reuters was unable to immediately contact Al-Ahly and Zhang for comment.
In an interview with a Guardian reporter, OCCRP said Zhang said he knew nothing about any secret purchases of Adani shares. Asked why journalists weren’t interested in his other investments, he said, “We are a simple company.”
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Krishn Kaushik – Reporting by Muhammad) Editing by Lisa Shoemaker, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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