A UK court on Friday instructed Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani to pay USD 100 million towards a conditional order granted to three Chinese banks pursuing the recovery of over USD 680 million owed to them as part of a loan agreement.
Judge David Waksman has set a six-week time for a payment to be made as he concluded that “he did not accept Ambani’s defence that his net worth was nearly zero or that his family would not step in to assist him. Judge Waksman said “In my overall conclusion, Mr Ambani has not satisfied me that he can’t make any payment at all as he expressed particular criticism of a “lack of candour” and “transparency” on the part of Ambani’s defence in reference to his financial means”.
A spokesperson for Anil Ambani said “Mr Ambani is reviewing the order of the UK Court and will take legal advice as to further remedies in appeal, “The order pertains to an alleged personal liability of Mr Ambani and will have no bearing on the operations of the Reliance Infrastructure Limited, Reliance Power Limited and Reliance Capital Limited.”
The banks Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd Mumbai Branch, on behalf of itself, China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China welcomed the order and said “they remain confident of their claim succeeding at trial”. A statement on behalf of the banks said “This is a straightforward debt claim to recover outstanding loans made to Reliance Communications in good faith and secured by a binding personal guarantee given by Mr Ambani, which he has refused to honour.” Further the statement said that “We remain very confident in our claim. We hope that Mr Ambani will comply with the court’s order and look forward to the swift resolution of the case at trial,”
Another senior Reliance Group official added that based on the legal advice, the Reliance Communications chief intends to seek further remedies in appeal and is confident that he will have the opportunity to establish that the Chinese claim is “without any merit”.