3 Chinese banks to pursue legal options to recover $717-m debt

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on September 28, 2020

Anil Ambani   -  REUTERS

The three Chinese banks that had dragged Anil Ambani to a UK court will now pursue all available legal avenues to recover the full judgment debt of nearly $717-million from the embattled businessman.

However, legal sources close to Reliance Group said Ambani has made full and fair disclosure of all his assets and liabilities in the UK Court and he personally holds no assets outside India.

Last week, Ambani had appeared before the English High Court for compulsory cross-examination in an order obtained by the three banks — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank — earlier.

The counsel for the banks cross-examined the Chairman of beleaguered telecom company Reliance Communications on his financial means.

“The banks will use the information from the cross-examination to pursue all available legal avenues to protect their rights and recover the outstanding loans owed to them,” a spokesperson for the banks said in an e-mail reply to BusinessLine.

‘Lavish lifestyle’

Further, the matter pertains to an alleged personal guarantee for a corporate loan availed by RCom in 2012 from the Chinese banks and not a personal loan to Ambani.

He also denied that he pursued a “lavish lifestyle” and instead clarified that in reality he is a disciplined and deeply religious person with simple habits.

Ambani also informed the court that he is a teetotaller and vegetarian, does not drink or smoke or gamble and lives with his mother - Kokilaben and family in Mumbai in a tenanted apartment building Seawind, under an arrangement done by his late father Dhirubhai Ambani.

In the cross-examination, Ambani also refuted statements of ownerships of an alleged fleet of cars, corporate jets, a helicopter and a yacht.

He said he uses one solitary car as provided by the company, and disclosed that to meet the cost of a long drawn litigation being pursued by the Chinese banks in the UK, he was compelled to also sell jewellery worth ₹9.9 crore.

Earlier on May 22, the UK court directed Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani to make an interim payment of $716.91 million within 21 days, while it vacated a pre-trial review and trial proceedings listed for 2021.

The Chinese banks had sought action against Ambani over an alleged breach of a personal guarantee on a debt refinancing loan of about $925 million that was due to mature in March 2012.

The outstanding principal plus interest as on February 7 stood at $708 million.

Published on September 28, 2020

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