Asia’s richest man, Gautam Adani, abruptly found himself at the center of a firestorm Wednesday, after prominent open trader Hindenburg Research claimed his India-based business empire was scammed.
Adani, 60, experienced a rise in her personal wealth last year as the global economy entered a period of slowing growth.
He is chairman of Adani Group, a growing $21 billion conglomerate that owns many of India’s airports, the country’s largest private sector port, media giant New Delhi Television and many other holdings.
According to the Financial Times, college dropout Adani began her career in the diamond industry before joining a plastics factory run by her brother.
Eventually, Adani established his own company, which started as an import-export operation in the commodities sector and gradually expanded into other ventures.
A biography on Adani Group’s website describes its namesake founder as a “first generation entrepreneur” focused on “nation-building” through infrastructure development. He is married and has two sons named Karan and Jeet.
“For Mr Adani, nation building means transforming India’s coastline by building a series of ports and logistics hubs,” the biography says. “For him, nation-building also means strengthening the country’s energy security and easing the urban-rural divide by providing electricity to the few hundred million people living in India’s hinterland.”
Besides his high-profile business career, Adani survived the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, and a 1998 kidnapping and ransom attempt, according to the BBC and other sources.
Adani has received her share of criticism as she gained international wealth and fame. Critics have reviewed his close relationship and support with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The industrialist is so well connected in Indian political circles that he has been called the “Rockefeller of Modi”.
Adani was an early supporter of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party. In 2014, Modi reportedly flew to the capital, New Delhi, on Adani’s private jet to take over as prime minister.
Since Modi took power, his wealth has grown from roughly $5 billion in 2014 to $121 billion by the end of 2022, according to Bloomberg.
According to the Financial Times, during this period Adani Group executed various government contracts and infrastructure projects.
“Modi doesn’t directly help any individual, I can tell you,” Adani told the Financial Times in 2013. “Modi helps industries through politics and doesn’t let any crap get into the system.”
Adani’s net worth skyrocketed to $44 billion last year, more than any other individual tracked by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, beating the likes of Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.
But Adani Group’s empire claims that Hindenburg, an influential company that previously targeted electric vehicle firms Nikola and Lordstown Motors, has “uncovered evidence of brash accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering taking place in Adani.” faced unprecedented scrutiny. for decades.”
“Adani has achieved this huge feat with the help of facilitators in government and a small industry of international companies that facilitate these activities,” Hindenburg said in a long client note about his findings.
Hindenburg noted that Adani Group has faced at least “four major government fraud investigations” and noted that “8 out of 22 key leaders are members of the Adani family.”
Shares under Adani’s control were worth about $12 billion after Hindenburg’s claims came to light.
After Hindenburg’s damning report, Forbes estimated Adani to be the fourth richest person in the world with a net worth of $119.1 billion, after billionaires Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk and Bezos. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index also places Adani as the fourth richest person and his net worth at $119 billion.
Adani Group denied the allegations in a statement by its CFO, Jugeshinder Singh.
“We were surprised that Hindenburg Research published a report on January 24, 2023, without any attempt to contact us or verify the true matrix,” Singh said. “The report is a malicious combination of selective misinformation and outdated, baseless and discredited claims that have been tested and rejected by India’s highest courts.”