Billionaire Gautam Adani’s sprawling business empire has lost a stunning $68 billion in market value through Monday — despite a 413-page attempted rebuttal to a short seller’s fraud allegations that blasted them as an “attack on India.”
Most of the Adani Group’s publicly traded stocks have plummeted in value in three days of trading since influential short-selling firm Hindenburg Research accused Adani of running “the largest con in corporate history.”
The biggest losses hit Adani Total Gas Ltd. and Adani Green Energy, which each plunged as much as 20% during trading Monday, according to Bloomberg data. The stock slump threatened to detail Adani Group just as it embarked on a $2.5 billion stock sale.
Adani Group tried to dismiss Hindenburg’s allegations in the lengthy report released Sunday, alleging the short seller’s allegations amounted to “calculated securities fraud” aimed at driving down the conglomerate’s value and hurting the country of India’s economic progress.
“This is not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India,” Adani Group said in its response.
Adani also repeated its threat to pursue legal action against Hindenburg.
In a sharp response to Adani’s rebuttal, Hindenburg said the company had failed to address 62 of the 88 specific questions it had raised about its operations and internal governance.
“Fraud cannot be obfuscated by nationalism or a bloated response that ignores every key allegation we raised,” Hindenburg said.
Hindenburg also slammed Adani’s assertation that its claims of fraud were harmful to India itself.
“To be clear, we believe India is a vibrant democracy and an emerging superpower with an exciting future. We also believe India’s future is being held back by the Adani Group, which has draped itself in the Indian flag while systematically looting the nation,” the firm said.
Last week, Hindenburg said it had “uncovered evidence of brazen accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering at Adani, taking place over the course of decades.” The firm said its findings were based on a two-year investigation.
Hindenburg said it had identified a network of shell companies in tax havens operated by Adani family members and close business associates that were allegedly used to inflate the corporation’s earnings.
Adani’s personal wealth has taken a major hit since Hindenburg’s allegations surfaced. The 60-year-old has lost nearly $28 billion on paper since the start of the year and fallen from third to seventh on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest individuals.