Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani, while appearing before a high court in London, said he sold all his jewellery to pay legal fees and that his expenses are being borne by his wife and family. He appeared via videolink in a case perused by three Chinese banks against the businessman in London.
Anil Ambani, who's the younger brother of Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani, said that the reports about him driving expensive cars were "speculations" by media. Ambani said during his hearing that he has even taken loans from his mother and son.
Ambani was asked various questions about his assets, expenses and total liabilities for more than three hours. Though Anil Ambani had sought that the matter should be held in private, the request was declined by the court.
He had appeared under Rule 71, which necessitates the judgement debtor to be resent in the court hearing. The judge even went on to say during the proceedings that Ambani had requested a private hearing to save himself from "embarrassment".
Notably, the three Chinese banks -- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd Mumbai Branch, China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China -- have so far got judgement debt worth $717 million in the $900 million loan case.
The UK court in May had directed Ambani to pay nearly $717 million to three Chinese banks as part of a loan agreement in 21 days. These three banks had given loans worth $925 million to Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications in 2012 on his personal guarantee.
When Anil Ambani failed to pay the said amount, the UK court asked information regarding all witnesses and his personal assets worth over $100,000. To know his actual expenses, the court also sought details about his two-year credit card statements.
Bankim Thanki, who represented the three Chinese banks, said the list of his witnesses and assets was incomplete. He even pointed out to shopping done by Ambani using his credit card from luxurious stores like Harrods, Dolce and Gabbana and Harvey Nichols, reported Times of India. Notably, there was no recent shopping done using the credit card. Anil Ambani denied that he used his credit card, and said that his mother had done the shopping.
Rejecting claims that he lives a lavish lifestyle and had gifted a yacht to his wife Tina Ambani, he claimed that he is seasick and has not used it for years. These reports are based on media speculations only, he said. "I am 61-year-old man, I lead a very disciplined life. I do not drink or smoke," he said.
Thanki also told the court that Ambani received a loan worth Rs 500 crore from his mother and his son Anmol, to which he said he was not aware of its actual "terms" and conditions.
Ambani was also asked about his love of expensive art and exhibition he and his wife conducted with Christie's. Anil Ambani replied saying he only owns one piece of art and that the event with Christie's was a part of his wife Tina Ambani's involvement with the Harmony Foundation.
Thanki also asked him about the help he receives from his brother Mukesh Ambani. He even said that the size of his legal team and lifestyle point towards the fact that he must have other sources of income, to which Ambani said: "Everything has been disclosed".
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, Mumbai Branch, on behalf of the three Chinese banks, had earlier sought the summary judgment against Ambani over an alleged breach of a personal guarantee on a debt refinancing loan of around $925 million in February 2012.
Ambani denied providing authority for any such guarantee, resulting in the High Court action in the UK.