Three Chinese banks -- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank -- have decided to pursue their rights and take enforcement actions against Anil Ambani's worldwide assets to recover their debt. Anil Ambani owes more than $716 million or Rs 5,276 crore along with significant legal costs to these banks. The Reliance Group Chairman was cross-examined by a UK court on Friday.
The banks' attorney Bankim Thanki QC, who represented the banks, told the UK high court on Friday that Ambani was "fighting tooth and nail" to avoid paying the lenders a penny. After the hearing on Friday, the banks have decided to pursue enforcement action and all available remedies against Ambani. The statement said that the banks will use all the information from the cross-examination to pursue all available legal avenues to protect their rights and recover the outstanding loans owed to them.
Anil Ambani was ordered by a UK court on May 22 to pay over $716 million (Rs 5,276 crore) including interest and Rs 7.04 crore in legal costs to the three banks. However, by June the debt had increased to $717.67 million (approx Rs 5,281 crore) after taking interests into account.
According to a report in Times of India, the banks have so far not pursued enforcement against Ambani's assets in India due to the State Bank of India's insolvency proceedings. They are looking to start enforcement action against his assets outside India based on his disclosures in the affidavit.
On June 29, the UK High Court had asked Ambani to file an affidavit listing his worldwide assets whether or not they are in his own name, and all documents including income and outgoings, assets, liabilities, bank statements, share certificates, balance sheets, profit and loss accounts of all businesses, as well as his trusts. However, just ahead of his Friday hearing, Ambani obtained an order to not make his financial documents available to a third party.
Ambani was asked to pay Rs 131 lakh towards the banks' legal fees for the cross examination hearing.
After the hearing, a spokesperson said that contrary to exaggerated perceptions of his flamboyance and lavish lifestyle, Anil Ambani has always been a simple man of simple tastes. "He is devoted to his family and company; an avid marathon runner; and deeply spiritual. He is also a lifelong vegetarian, teetotaller and non-smoker who would much rather watch a movie at home with his kids than go out on the town. Reports that suggest otherwise are completely misleading," said the spokesperson.
The case pertains to $925 million or Rs 6,817 crore in loans given by Chinese banks to Reliance Communications in 2012. The company had initially repaid the loans but started defaulting later on. They claim that Ambani provided a personal guarantee for the loan.