Adani family partners used offshore funds to invest in Indian group's stocks

Adani family partners used offshore funds to invest in Indian group's stocks

NEW DELHI--Millions of dollars were invested in publicly traded Adani Group stocks through funds in Mauritius, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) reported on Thursday, saying this "obscured" the involvement of alleged business partners of India's Adani family.

Citing a review of files from tax havens and internal Adani Group emails, the non-profit global network of investigative journalists said two individual investors with "longtime business ties" to the Adani family used such offshore structures to buy and sell Adani shares between 2013 and 2018. The Adani Group, which is controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani, said it categorically rejected what it called recycled allegations in the OCCRP report "in their entirety". Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli from Dubai and Chang Chung-Ling from Taiwan, the two investors named in the OCCRP report, did not respond to Reuters requests seeking comment. Reuters has not independently verified the allegations made in the OCCRP report, which comes after U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research accused the Adani Group in January of improper business dealings. Shares in Adani Group companies fell on Thursday amid renewed corporate governance concerns. Adani Enterprises, the group's flagship company, closed down 3.7%, while Adani Ports, Adani Power, Adani Green, Adani Total Gas, Adani Energy Solutions and Adani Wilmar slid between 2% and 4.3%.

"If true, it could mean a violation of Indian financial market regulator SEBI laws for publicly listed stocks, that could sway the outcome or push SEBI to dig deeper in its ongoing investigation into the group," CreditiSights senior research analyst Lakshmanan R. said. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), did not officially respond to Reuters' requests for comment. Sources told Reuters that SEBI has examined the two Mauritius-based funds and one Bermuda-based fund cited by OCCRP as part of the regulator's larger probe into the Adani Group. The investigation into possible violation of public float norms by the Adani Group is still ongoing and any new facts will be considered, those sources added. In the days following the January report, Adani Group stocks lost $150 billion in market value and remain down around $100 billion following a recovery in recent months after it repaid some debt and regained some investor confidence.

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