US authorities probe Adani Group for potential cases of bribery

Investigators are digging into whether any Adani entity, or people linked to the company, were involved in paying officials for favorable treatment

Gautam Adani (photo: National Herald archives)
Gautam Adani (photo: National Herald archives)

NH Digital

Challenges await the Adani Group as US authorities have widened an ongoing probe to check if "entities or persons" linked to the multinational conglomerate company, including its founder Gautam Adani, were involved in bribing officials in India for favourable treatment in relation to an energy project, Bloomberg News reported.

Media reports say the Adani probe is now at an advanced stage, and the US department of justice (DoJ) can choose to pursue its investigations without notifying the parties involved. As per reports, US law allows federal prosecutors to probe international corruption allegations if they involve links to American investors or markets.

According to the Bloomberg report, Adani Group in an emailed statement said: “We are not aware of any investigation against our chairman. As a business group that operates with the highest standards of governance, we are subject to and fully compliant with anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws in India and other countries,” the statement reads.

The US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and the DoJ's fraud unit in Washington are also probing Indian renewable energy company Azure Power Global Ltd. said people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported. However, the investigators have so refused to comment on the matter.

According to information, Azure, Adani Group and its chairman haven’t been charged with wrongdoing by DoJ yet, and investigations don’t always lead to prosecutions.

Azure has been dealing with the fallout from allegations by whistleblowers of illicit payments, and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange late in 2023 over delayed filings. Also last year, Azure said it was cooperating with the DoJ and SEC after an internal probe found evidence that people previously affiliated with the firm may have been aware, or been involved in, an “apparent scheme with persons outside the Parent to make improper payments in relation to certain projects," the Bloomberg report says.

In January 2023, Hindenburg Research in its report had accused the Adani Group of “brazen stock manipulation” and “accounting fraud”. The Congress party had demanded a probe by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) into the charges levelled by the New York-based research firm against the Adani Group.

Hinting at the "close relationship" that Adani Group and the Modi government share, Congress MP and communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh said as a "responsible" Opposition, Congress was urging SEBI and RBI “to play their roles as stewards of the financial system and to investigate these allegations in the wider public interest.”

Ramesh had added that the “Adani Group is no ordinary conglomerate” since it has been a close ally of PM Modi since the time he was chief minister of Gujarat. 

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