Shares in the giant Indian Adani group are sliding – again – after documents obtained by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project showed associates of the group’s founder’s brother using shell companies in Bermuda to manipulate stock prices. The group denies doing anything wrong but the documents indicate the two associates, one from the UAE, one from Taiwan, bought and sold supposedly “free-floating” Adani shares at the group’s behest, disguising the proportion of the total stock of shares controlled by the company. Indian law caps non-free floating shares at 75 per cent. The Adani group has ten divisions including India’s biggest thermal power producer and biggest ports operator, but it nearly buckled when New York-based Hindenburg Research, a short-seller, first published stock manipulation claims in January. $90 billion was wiped off its market cap then, and the Modi government leaned on the other big industrial groups that dominate India’s private sector to shore it up. The OCCRP papers, seen by the Guardian and the FT, also show an investigation by India’s stock market regulator was shelved when Modi came to power in 2014. Rahul Gandhi, the opposition leader, said his country’s global reputation was at stake as it prepares to host the G20 next week.
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