Securities and Exchange Board of India Exploring Ties Between Adani Group and Gulf Asia Fund

By Consultants Review Team Wednesday, 11 October 2023

To see if there was a violation of share ownership laws, India's market regulator is looking into the relationship between the Adani Group and a fund formed in the British Virgin Islands According to the sources, the fund is dubbed Gulf Asia Trade & Investment. As per the inspections, it is owned by Dubai businessman Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli, albeit the site has since been removed. Furthermore, according to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and data provided to Reuters by the investigative journalism organization, the fund has invested in numerous listed Adani enterprises.

The investigation is part of the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI) probe into the Indian conglomerate, which followed a January report by short-seller Hindenburg Research that alleged offshore shell corporations "surreptitiously" owned stock in Adani listed firms, raising governance issues. According to the sources, a crucial concern for SEBI investigators is whether Gulf Asia's relationships with the Adani Group are such that it would be regarded to be operating "in concert" with important Adani owners. The sources declined to be identified since the investigations are ongoing and private.

This aspect of the SEBI probe has not previously been publicized. When approached by Reuters, the Adani Group declined to comment on the SEBI investigation or its apparent ties to the fund. The company has previously stated that it absolutely rejects OCCRP's claims of "opaque use" of cash by business partners to invest in its listed companies. It has also refuted Hindenburg's allegations, claiming that all transactions with firms that qualified as linked parties were duly reported.

Requests for comment from SEBI and Gulf Asia were not returned. Reuters was unable to reach Ahli. Emails and phone calls to his major financial services firm, Al Jawda Trade and Services, based in the UAE, went unanswered. DOCUMENT OF MERGER To combat price manipulation, Indian law requires listed firms to be at least 25% publicly owned, and all transactions involving entities operating in concert must identify and disclose the parties. The OCCRP classified Ahli as one of two individual investors with "longtime business ties" to the group's founder, billionaire Gautam Adani, in August. The non-profit worldwide network of investigative journalists also claimed that between 2013 and 2016, Gulf Asia used offshore companies to buy and sell Adani shares.


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