Gautam Adani's Older Brother Vinod Emerges As Family Empire's Key Fixer: Forbes
Moneylife Digital Team 18 February 2023
Economy & Nation Exclusive

Vinod Adani, the longtime Indian ex-pat, is at the heart of the Adani group's global web of subsidiaries and offshore shareholders, but just do not call him a related party, says a report from Forbes.

The report says Gautam Adani, the 60-year-old Indian billionaire and chairman of the Adani group conglomerate, appears 50 times in the lengthy report released in late January by US short-seller Hindenburg Research. "Vinod Adani, the chairman's lesser-known older brother, is mentioned 151 times-more than anyone else. That is because Vinod Adani appears to be at the centre of the scandal that has enveloped his brother, the Adani family empire, and Indian business and political life."

According to the Hindenburg report, Vinod Adani 'manages a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities' that have 'collectively moved billions of dollars into Indian Adani publicly listed and private entities, often without required disclosure of the related party nature of the deals'. "That, in turn, has helped the Adani group evade Indian laws that require at least 25% of a company's publicly traded stock to be owned by non-insiders," the report says.

The Adani group denies improper ties to its chairman's brother. "Vinod Adani does not hold any managerial position in any Adani listed entities or their subsidiaries and has no role in their day-to-day affairs," the company wrote in its 413-page retort to Hindenburg, issued 29 January 2023. "As such, these questions have no relevance to the entities in the Adani portfolio."

However, Forbes has identified previously unreported transactions involving offshore funds with ties to Vinod Adani that appear designed to benefit the Adani group as a whole. The deals also lend further credence to Hinenburg's allegations of hidden leverage and accounting irregularities within the Adani group.

"I've always thought it was a partnership," Tim Buckley, director at Australia-based analysis firm Climate Energy Finance, who has studied the Adani Group and its plans to develop a coal mine in Australia, told Forbes. "Gautam was the warm, cuddly, friendly public face of the pair, and Vinod the mastermind in the private tax haven, the real puppet master."

The Adani Group and Vinod Adani did not respond to Forbes' requests for comment. (Vinod Adani's email address, tied to several properties in Dubai registered in his name, has an Adani Global domain.)

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