MUMBAI: Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani saw his net worth drop $6 billion on Wednesday after a US investment firm accused him of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud”.

Adani, 60, is the world’s third-richest person, with an estimated fortune of around $120bn and interests ranging from Australian coal mines to India’s busiest ports.

But the magnate was the biggest loser on Forbes’ real-time billionaires list on Wednesday, dropping nearly five per cent -- or $6.4bn -- of his net worth overnight as investors rushed to sell shares in his group of companies.

Hindenburg Research published a report on Tuesday alleging that Adani Group “has engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades”.

The firm said it had taken a short position in Adani Group companies after a two-year investigation based on interviews with former executives, site visits in multiple countries and document reviews.

Its report claims that Adani’s elder brother Vinod “manages a vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities” in tax havens including Mauritius, Cyprus and several Caribbean islands.

Hindenburg said it had identified numerous instances of undisclosed related-party transactions and earnings manipulation “to maintain the appearance of financial health and solvency” of listed Adani companies.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2023

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