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Insider trading scandal should serve as the ultimate red line for Adani’s financial backers

Toxic Bonds Network calls on financial institutions to stop supporting Adani or be considered complicit in its deception

Today, the Adani Group finds itself plunged deeper into crisis with new allegations with evidence that reveals the illegal transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to Mauritius-based shell companies to manipulate Adani’s stock price, in violation of India’s free float laws.

Six months ago, Hindenburg Research unveiled “brazen accounting fraud, stock manipulation, and money laundering,” shattering any illusion still held of Adani’s ethical standing. Yet, the tentacles of this conglomerate’s misdeeds stretch even further. Confidential documents obtained by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), shared with The Financial Times and The Guardian, have come to light, confirming Hindenburg’s allegations – vehemently denied by the Adani Group – that Gautam Adani’s brother Vinod and his associates control a “vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities” to artificially inflate Adani stock prices and move money in and out of its listed companies.

The Adani Group conglomerate, under the veil of corporate ambition, has perpetuated a relentless agenda of greed, undermining financial markets, committing egregious human rights abuses, and ravaging the environment. In light of today’s evidence, the financial actors continuing to support Adani must recognize that their credibility hangs in the balance. Investors, banks, index providers and credit rating agencies must confront the harsh reality of their backing and take their fiduciary responsibility seriously. By continuing to invest or facilitate Adani’s access to global markets, they risk complicity in its deception.

The Toxic Bonds Network calls upon all financial institutions to disentangle themselves from the web of Adani’s deceit. Specifically:

  • Investors must deny new debt to all Adani Group entities and divest from its shares and bonds.
  • Banks must stop providing direct finance to all Adani Group entities, and stop facilitating future capital market activities for Adani, including bond issuance and sale of shares.
  • Index providers must remove all Adani Group entities from mainstream indexes.
  • Credit rating agencies must downgrade all Adani Group entities to accurately reflect the material risks.

Regulators, who have faltered in taking action against Adani, must also step up. The Indian regulator SEBI and the United States regulator SEC, in particular, have been handed a stark reminder of their duty to protect the sanctity of financial markets and uphold the rule of law. They must be given the powers and access to expedite their investigations, unmask the extent of Adani’s criminality, and send a clear message that corporate power will not go unchecked.

“Banks that have provided underwriting and lending support to the Adani Group must confront the moral bankruptcy of their choices. For decades, they have funded Adani’s abuses, and by continuing to provide financial support in spite of mounting evidence, banks are complicit in propping up Adani’s empire. Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and all other banks must immediately cut all ties with Adani and stop serving as its gatekeeper to the financial world – or be exposed to financial and reputational damage, as well as legal action for misrepresenting investment risks to investors.”
Will O’Sullivan, Climate Campaigner at Banktrack.

“Hindenburg made Adani a pariah, but many of the company’s overseas investors still quietly held the line. These revelations should be the final straw. It’s impossible to see how any credible financial institution can stand by Adani following the publication of these documents. Those who continue to fund Adani despite the evidence of insider trading, financial manipulation, corruption, environmental degradation and human rights abuses risk being complicit in its criminal and unethical behaviour. In light of Adani’s planned upcoming capital raising, existing bondholders – PIMCO, TIAA, abrdn and Blackrock, in particular – must make a swift and unequivocal commitment to deny debt. Investors must also divest from current holdings and consider legal action as a means to hold Adani accountable for its deception.”
– Nick Haines, Toxic Bonds campaigner at Ekō.