Monday, 2 January 2017

Adani Group in hot water on two continents?

In debt for billions, refused additional finance, under investigation in India and still before the courts in Australia – the rather suspect Adani Group is not starting the year on a high.

The Hindu,  8 May 2016:

Adani group (Gautam Adani)

The billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani group, with Rs 96,031 crore debt, is under pressure to sell its stake in the Abbott Point coal mines, port and rail project. The Adani Group’s debt stands at Rs. 72,000 crore. Last year, Standard Chartered bank had recalled loans amounting to $2.5 billion as part of its global policy of reducing exposure in emerging markets. Global lenders have backed out from funding the $10-billion coal mine development project. State Bank of India has also declined to offer a loan despite signing an MoU to fund the group with $1 billion. An Adani spokesperson declined to offer any comments on the issue.

Times of India, 13 September 2016:

DRI has been investigating 40 power generating companies and traders for the past couple of years. According to DRI, some prominent public and private sector companies inflated the import value of coal beyond that prevailing in the international market. Some companies are also being probed for allegedly inflating the value of imported capital goods. According to DRI, power tariffs were fixed based on the inflated values, which resulted in consumers paying higher charges.

DRI has alleged that Adani Group and Essar have imported capital goods through intermediaries in tax havens. It claims that the companies' objective was to siphon off money abroad while availing higher power tariff compensation based on artificially-inflated costs of imported coal or capital goods.

While the coal was directly shipped from Indonesian ports to importers in India, the import invoices were routed through one or more intermediaries based in a third country such as Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and British Virgin Islands. These intermediary firms appear to be either subsidiaries of Indian importers or their front companies. This was the modus operandi used in the import of capital goods too. Investigations into overvaluation by other companies are still in progress.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has stayed an order of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) that directed the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to award compensatory tariffs to Adani Power and Coastal Gujarat Power (Tata group) based on power purchase agreements for their power plants in Mundra. APTEL has also disallowed compensatory tariff to Adani Group's power plant at Tiroda in Maharashtra and Kawai in Rajasthan.

ABC News, 7 December 2016:

Traditional owners are set to launch further legal action against Adani's Carmichael coal mine slated for central Queensland.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people claimed the $22 billion project impinges on their native title rights, and would extinguish their interests over 28 square kilometres of land if it goes ahead.

Spokesman Adrian Burragubba said the group was running four separate legal challenges to the project, and vowed to continue fighting.

"We will continue to pursue all legal avenues, Australian and international, and put a stop to this disastrous project," he said.

"Our rights are not protected, and we will test the limits of the law in this country if need be, including all the way to the High Court."

Courier Mail, 11 December 2016:

Questions remain over how the Carmichael project will be funded.

Mr Buckley says the Adani group is among the most highly leveraged companies in India with net debt across the group of about $15 billion.

More than a dozen major international financiers have ruled out providing funds for the project.

ABC News, 22 December 2016:

The business behind the planned Carmichael coal mine in North Queensland is facing multiple financial crime and corruption probes, with Indian authorities investigating Adani companies for siphoning money offshore and artificially inflating power prices at the expense of Indian consumers.

Companies under scrutiny for the alleged corrupt conduct include Adani Enterprises Limited — the ultimate parent company of the massive mine planned for the Galilee Basin.

Two separate investigations into allegations of trade-based money laundering by Adani companies are underway — one into the fraudulent invoicing of coal imports and the other into a scam involving false invoicing for capital equipment imports.

"They are very serious allegations and they are being conducted by the premier Indian government agency investigating financial crime," Australia's foremost expert on money laundering, Professor David Chaikin of the University of Sydney, told the ABC.

"The allegations involve substantial sums of money with major losses to the Indian taxpayer."

Adani denies wrongdoing.

The "modus operandi" of the claimed fraud is outlined in a circular issued by India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which was obtained by the ABC.

"Intelligence obtained by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence indicated that certain importers of Indonesian coal were artificially inflating its import value as opposed to its actual value," Professor Chaikin said.

"The objective … appears to be two-fold: (i) siphoning off money abroad and (ii) to avail higher power tariff compensation based on [the] artificially inflated cost of the imported coal."

Five Adani Group companies are among a number of power companies named in the circular as under investigation.

These include Adani Enterprises Ltd, the ultimate parent company of the Adani entity, which holds the environmental approvals for the planned Carmichael Coal Mine and a railway to the mine.

Adani Enterprises Ltd has also been accused of involvement in large-scale illegal iron ore exports and bribery of public officials.

According to a 2011 report by the ombudsman of the Indian State of Karnataka, obtained by the ABC, police seized documents from Adani Enterprises in raids "which indicate that money has been regularly paid to port authorities, customs authorities, police department, mines and geology and even to MLAs/MPs".

The revelations come as the Federal Government considers granting Adani a $1 billion subsidy to build a railway from the Abbot Point Coal Terminal to the mine site 400 kilometres inland.

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