Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest man, abruptly discovered himself on the middle of a firestorm on Wednesday after distinguished short-seller Hindenburg Research alleged his India-based business empire was built through fraud.
Adani, 60, skilled an increase in private wealth final yr at the same time as the worldwide financial system suffered a interval of slowing progress.
He is chairman of Adani Group, a sprawling $21 billion conglomerate that owns many of India’s airports, the nation’s largest private-sector port, the media big New Delhi Television and lots of different holdings.
A university dropout, Adani started his profession within the diamond business earlier than becoming a member of a plastics manufacturing facility run by his brother, according to the Financial Times.
Eventually, Adani shaped his personal firm, which started as an import-export operation within the commodities sector and step by step expanded to different initiatives.
A bio on Adani Group’s web site describes its namesake founder as a “first-generation entrepreneur” who is centered on “nation-building” by infrastructure growth. He is married and has two sons, Karan and Jeet.
“For Mr. Adani, nation-building means remodeling India’s shoreline by constructing a string of ports and logistics hubs,” the bio reads. “For him, nation-building additionally means strengthening the nation’s power safety and mitigating the urban-rural divide by delivering electrical energy to a number of tons of of thousands and thousands dwelling within the hinterlands of India.”
Aside from his high-profile enterprise profession, Adani additionally survived the 2008 terrorist assaults in Mumbai, India, in addition to a kidnapping and ransom try in 1998, according to the BBC and different shops.
Adani has confronted his fair proportion of criticism throughout an increase to worldwide wealth and prominence. Critics have scrutinized his shut relationship with and assist of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The industrialist is so well-connected in India’s political circles that he has been known as “Modi’s Rockefeller.”
Adani was an early booster of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata celebration. In 2014, Modi reportedly flew to the capital metropolis of New Delhi on Adani’s non-public jet to take over as prime minister.
His wealth ballooned since Modi took energy, rising from roughly $5 billion in 2014 to a whopping $121 billion on the finish of 2022, according to Bloomberg.
During that interval, Adani Group has landed varied authorities contracts and infrastructure tasks, according to the Financial Times.
“Modi is in a roundabout way serving to any particular person, that I can let you know,” Adani informed the Financial Times in 2013. “Modi is serving to industries by coverage, and never permitting any nonsense into the system.”
Adani’s internet price skyrocketed by $44 billion final yr — greater than some other particular person tracked by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index — as he jetted previous the likes of Amazon government chairman Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.
But the Adani Group’s empire confronted unprecedented scrutiny after Hindenburg – an influential agency that beforehand focused the electrical automobile companies Nikola and Lordstown Motors – claimed to have “uncovered proof of brazen accounting fraud, inventory manipulation and cash laundering at Adani, happening over the course of many years.”
“Adani has pulled off this gargantuan feat with the assistance of enablers in authorities and a cottage business of worldwide firms that facilitate these actions,” Hindenburg mentioned in a prolonged shopper word on its findings.
Hindenburg famous that Adani Group has confronted not less than “4 main authorities fraud investigations” and famous that “8 of 22 key leaders are Adani relations.”
Adani-controlled shares misplaced the equal of roughly $12 billion in worth after Hindenburg’s allegations surfaced.
After Hindenburg’s damning report, Forbes estimated Adani to be the world’s fourth-richest individual, with a internet price of $119.1 billion, trailing billionaires Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk and Bezos. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index also placed Adani because the fourth-wealthiest individual and his wealth at $119 billion.
Adani Group denied the allegations in a press release from its CFO, Jugeshinder Singh.
“We are shocked that Hindenburg Research has revealed a report on 24 January 2023 with out making any try to contact us or confirm the factual matrix,” Singh mentioned. “The report is a malicious mixture of selective misinformation and off, baseless and discredited allegations which have been examined and rejected by India’s highest courts.”