BR Shetty seeks India probe of former NMC, Finablr CEOs over $6 billion scandal

BR Shetty seeks India probe of former NMC, Finablr CEOs over $6 billion scandal
A spokesman for the two former CEOs rejected BR Shetty’s allegations, saying he had significant control over the running of NMC and that he or his family remained on the boards of companies. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 October 2020

BR Shetty seeks India probe of former NMC, Finablr CEOs over $6 billion scandal

BR Shetty seeks India probe of former NMC, Finablr CEOs over $6 billion scandal
  • Several companies linked to BR Shetty have come under severe financial strain this year
  • NMC and Finablr subsequently announced far higher debts than they had previously reported

MUMBAI/DUBAI: Indian entrepreneur BR Shetty has filed a complaint with federal investigative agencies in India seeking a probe into two former top executives of his companies and two Indian banks related to a multibillion-dollar financial scandal engulfing his group.
Several companies linked to Shetty, including top United Arab Emirates hospital operator NMC Health PLC and payments firm Finablr PLC, have come under severe financial strain this year after short-seller Muddy Waters questioned NMC’s financials.
At issue, Muddy Waters said, were questions about NMC’s asset purchase prices and capital expenditures, which it said were both inflated.
NMC and Finablr subsequently announced far higher debts than they had previously reported.
Shetty’s 55-page complaint, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, accuses the former chief executives of NMC and Finablr, along with their associates and bankers, of inflating the companies’ balance sheets, arranging “illegal” credit facilities and misappropriating funds since 2012.
It calls on India’s federal police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) – India’s financial crime fighting agency – to investigate.
The complaint, with more than 100 pages of supporting documents, indicates it was also sent to India’s prime minister’s office, central bank and other investigative agencies.
A spokesman for the two former CEOs, brothers Prasanth and Promoth Manghat, rejected Shetty’s allegations, saying he had significant control over the running of NMC after stepping aside as CEO in 2017 and that he or his family remained on the boards of companies including Finablr.
“These unfounded allegations against Prasanth Manghat and Promoth Manghat are a clumsy attempt to distract attention away from the skills and real value added by them to the success of NMC, Finablr ... and Shetty’s own role in what has taken place,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement.
Bank of Baroda and Federal Bank, the Indian lenders named in Shetty’s complaint, did not respond to Reuters request for comment.
The CBI, ED and prime minister’s office did not respond to requests for comment. India’s central bank declined to comment.
London’s High Court placed NMC into administration in April after it reported debts of $6.6 billion. UK-listed Finablr said in March it was preparing for potential insolvency and warned a month later it might have nearly $1 billion more in debt than previously reported.
In a news conference on Wednesday, NMC’s administrators Alvarez & Marsal said its investigation team was working with legal advisers to develop a strategy to recover losses, likely to be in the billions of dollars, and obtain compensation for damage incurred by NMC as a result of the alleged fraud.
Finablr’s CEO Bhairav Trivedi said last week the company continues to cooperate with all relevant authorities that are investigating potential wrongdoing by former management, advisers and bankers of the company.
Shetty, now in India and himself facing a criminal complaint in Abu Dhabi, is fighting court cases in India and Dubai as banks seek to recover loans from his companies. In April, the UAE central bank ordered banks to freeze accounts of Shetty and his family, sources said.
“We have submitted every shred of evidence into that complaint, which, if anybody examines, will clearly conclude that Dr. Shetty is innocent and that all of that has happened under his nose — unfortunately, behind his back,” Shetty’s lawyer Zulfiquar Memon of MZM Legal said.
Memon said the complaint was filed after a month-long internal investigation and the investigating agencies are examining the complaint.


Camera maker Canon reveals 30% Saudi women employees target by 2023

Camera maker Canon reveals 30% Saudi women employees target by 2023
Updated 23 September 2021

Camera maker Canon reveals 30% Saudi women employees target by 2023

Camera maker Canon reveals 30% Saudi women employees target by 2023
  • It has launched a “Women in Sales” internship program to further support the 2023 target

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabia unit of global camera maker Canon wants 30 percent of its employees to be Saudi women by the end of 2023. 

The move is in line with national efforts to integrate more women into the Kingdom’s workforce.

Canon said it has been working towards this target since 2018, when it first opened offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al-Khobar, but has now made the goal public.

It has previously teamed up with King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah to develop technology-enabled training, which the camera maker said was proof of its “commitment to support young talent” in the Kingdom. 

The company partnered with Mohammed Al-Mana College for Medical Sciences to fund one female student’s school expenses, including tuition and housing.

It has also launched a “Women in Sales” internship program to further support the 2023 target. 


China preparing for Evergrande's downfall: WSJ

China preparing for Evergrande's downfall: WSJ
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 23 September 2021

China preparing for Evergrande's downfall: WSJ

China preparing for Evergrande's downfall: WSJ
  • Local governments have been ordered to assemble groups of accountants and legal experts to examine the finances around Evergrande's operations in their respective regions
  • Both bonds would default if Evergrande fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates

Chinese authorities are asking local governments to prepare for the potential downfall of debt-ridden China Evergrande Group, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing officials familiar with the discussion.

The move has been characterised as "getting ready for the possible storm" by the officials, according to the report.


The officials said local-level government agencies and state-owned enterprises have been instructed to step in only at the last minute should Evergrande fail to manage its affairs in an orderly fashion, the WSJ reported.


Local governments have been tasked with preventing unrest and mitigating the ripple effect on home buyers and the broader economy, the officials said, according to the report.


Evergrande, China's second-biggest property developer, has $83.5 million in dollar-bond interest payments due on Thursday on a $2 billion offshore bond and a $47.5 million dollar-bond interest payment due next week.


Both bonds would default if Evergrande fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates.


The company, which epitomised the borrow-to-build business model, ran into trouble over the past few months as Beijing tightened rules in its property sector to rein back debt levels and speculation.


Investors are worried that a downfall could spread to creditors including banks in China and abroad.

 


Luxury operator Chalhoub opens new retail hub in Riyadh

Luxury operator Chalhoub opens new retail hub in Riyadh
Updated 23 September 2021

Luxury operator Chalhoub opens new retail hub in Riyadh

Luxury operator Chalhoub opens new retail hub in Riyadh
  • The new retail development, called “Concept by MUSE”, will bring in local, regional, and international brands, particularly catering to the Saudi youth

DUBAI: Luxury retail operator Chalhoub Group has launched a new shopping destination at the Riyadh Park in the Saudi capital, in a new sign of recovery in the Kingdom’s retail sector post-pandemic. 

The new retail development, called “Concept by MUSE”, will bring in local, regional, and international brands, particularly catering to the Saudi youth, the group said in a statement.

“The retail landscape in Saudi Arabia has evolved significantly over the last few years, especially as young customers become increasingly discerning and attentive to global shopping trends while staying true to their roots and culture,” David Vercruysse, president of managed companies at Chalhoub, said.

Over 1,200 products will be featured at the mall, including the work of five Saudi designers Noms Life, Proud Angeles, Dania Shinkar, Cones and Rods, and Kaf By Kaf.

It follows an earlier initiative of the group to support local Saudi designers by giving them financial grants to build their own fashion brands.

The Kingdom has announced several efforts to modernize its economy, including boosting its local retail market. 

“This world’s first demonstrates our commitment to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and support to the country’s ambitions to make Saudi a world-class retail destination,” Bachar Sabbagh, the Saudi director of Chalhoub, said. 


Apicorp launches first green bond framework

Apicorp launches first green bond framework
Updated 23 September 2021

Apicorp launches first green bond framework

Apicorp launches first green bond framework
  • The framework will be used to raise green bonds/sukuk for projects aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

DUBAI: The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) has launched its first green bond framework.

It follows the recent approval of the OPEC-created financial institution’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy framework, as it aims to develop the sustainable financial market. 

The framework will be used to raise green bonds/sukuk for projects aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals - addressing issues in climate mitigation, circular economy, and biodiversity preservation among others. 

It was created in line with the International Capital Market Association’s Green Bond Principles 2021.

“By launching the Green Bond Framework, Apicorp is providing new avenues for investment in projects and ventures that further the development of safe, affordable, and renewable energy sources,” Ahmed Ali Attiga, chief executive officer of Apicorp. 

He said the framework “reflects our deep understanding of the ESG impact of our investments across the energy spectrum and our commitment to setting out new engagement strategies with our stakeholders to spread awareness of their ESG exposure.”

Apircorp earlier said it will allocate $1 billion towards green energy projects and sustainable energy companies over the next two years. 


Dubai's DAMAC Properties receives approval to take firm private

Dubai's DAMAC Properties receives approval to take firm private
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 23 September 2021

Dubai's DAMAC Properties receives approval to take firm private

Dubai's DAMAC Properties receives approval to take firm private
  • The Dubai real-estate company still plans to offer $595 million for outstanding shares of the company
  • The firm has a market capitalization of over $2 billion

DAMAC Properties, known for its deals with former President Donald Trump said Thursday it had received regulator approval for an effort to take the firm private.


The Dubai real-estate company still plans to offer $595 million for outstanding shares of the company, the firm said in a filing on Dubai Financial Market stock exchange.


It said it would offer an update on the plan in the coming weeks. It earlier announced plans in June for the offer to take the company private, then withdrew them as regulators examined the plan.


The buyout would be through Maple Invest Co. Ltd., a holding company of DAMAC's billionaire founder Hussain Sajwani. Sajwani owns nearly four-fifths of the company through various investment firms.


DAMAC stock traded up Thursday over 3 percent on the news. The firm has a market capitalization of over $2 billion.


DAMAC is known in Dubai for a development that features a Trump-branded golf club surrounded by villas and apartments, making it the only one of its kind in the Middle East that bears the Trump logo.


The company’s partnership with the Trump Organization to manage and run the golf course was struck before Trump’s election as U.S. president.