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Wed 12 Feb 2020 09:30 AM

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Creditors swoop on Indian tycoons' Rolls-Royce, island mansion

Tycoons like Nirav Modi, Anil Ambani, Vijay Mallya have all been targeted by creditor seeking to recover funds

Creditors swoop on Indian tycoons' Rolls-Royce, island mansion
Image for illustrative purpose only.

Indian tycoon owners of bankrupt companies are being told their assets aren’t off limits.

Weeks after India’s criminal enforcement bureau announced a second auction of the prized personal possessions of fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi including his favourite watch and his Rolls-Royce Ghost, the UK High Court recently asked Anil Ambani to deposit $100 million of his personal wealth to partially pay back debt due to a trio of Chinese banks.

The rush to collect on the assets includes a swoop on Vijay Mallya’s French island mansion and yacht by Qatar National Bank. The moves come as India is battling $130 billion of bad debt that has sparked bankruptcies at some companies. Some tycoons have held assets through arcane webs of holding companies, which has complicated creditors’ efforts to recover funds.

The three Chinese banks who provided a $925 million loan to now-bankrupt Reliance Communications are a case in point. The Chinese banks argue that they granted the loan in 2012 on the condition that Anil Ambani personally guarantee the debt.

Ambani contends that the collapse of his main businesses, as well as the struggles of his other companies, have left him with no “meaningful assets” and that the brother of Asia’s wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani is “unable to raise any finance from external sources.”

Judge David Waksman, however, ruled that Ambani must pay up $100 million into the court’s account within six weeks of the judgment last week.

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