A file photo of Anil Ambani. (Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint)
A file photo of Anil Ambani. (Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint)

UK court deadline to pay $100 millon ends for Ambani

  • While a final outcome was awaited at the time of going to the press, failure to pay the amount could have serious implications for Anil Ambani
  • Ambani has contested the personal guarantee claims of the banks

A deadline set by a United Kingdom court for Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) chairman Anil Ambai to pay $100 million to three Chinese banks ended on Friday.

While a final outcome was awaited at the time of going to the press, failure to pay the amount could have serious implications for Ambani, including a potential seizure of his personal assets in India or elsewhere.

A Bloomberg report had on Friday said Ambani had made a last-minute bid to postpone the payment deadline after an appeal court judge ruled on Thursday that his application “had no real prospect of success and is totally without merit".

Ambani is embroiled in litigation with three state-controlled Chinese banks who claim Ambani has provided a personal guarantee against loans given to his now- defunct telecom company Reliance Communications Ltd, which filed for bankruptcy last year.

Ambani has contested the personal guarantee claims of the banks.

The lenders in question—Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China—had sought a summary judgement against Ambani over an alleged breach of a personal guarantee on a debt refinancing loan of around $925 million in February 2012.

On 7 February, the High Court of England and Wales set the terms for the “condition order" of a payment into court it had granted to the three Chinese banks last year against Ambani.

An Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group representative declined to comment.

Ambani’s UK attorneys didn’t immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment by Mint.

In the course of the trial in the United Kingdom, Ambani had pleaded poverty, saying that his net worth was down to zero, blaming it on a series of investments that had gone wrong.

“The value of my investments has collapsed," he told judge David Waksman in February, Bloomberg reported.

The argument was however set aside by the court, which ruled that Ambani was still liable to make the payment.

At that hearing, the judge ruled that Ambani or a member of his family must still put up the cash.

He said that he didn’t believe that his family wouldn’t help.

“What I’m dealing with is an extraordinarily wealthy family who have helped each other in the past," he said.

Waksman said he didn’t accept that Ambani’s family “have firmly and irrevocably brought the shutters down".

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