New Delhi, Sep 28, 2020: Three Chinese banks are all set to initiate fresh enforcement action against Anil Ambani’s worldwide assets to recover debts to the tune of $716 million or nearly Rs 5,300 crore.
According to a Times of India (TOI) new report, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank are also seeking to recover significant legal costs incurred in the process of debt recovery.
The development comes after the beleaguered former Reliance Communications (RCom) Chairman was cross-examined by a UK court on Friday, the report added.
Anil Ambani, once the sixth-richest person in the world, was ordered by a UK court on May 22 this year to pay Rs 5,276 crore including interest of Rs 7.04 crore in legal costs to the three banks. By June 29, Ambani’s debt to these banks including accrued interest had risen to $717.6 million.
Attorney Bankim Thanki QC, appearing on behalf of the banks, told the UK High court on Friday that Ambani was “fighting tooth and nail” to avoid paying his dues.
Soon after Friday’s hearing, the banks declared that they have decided to pursue enforcement action and use all remedies against Ambani to recover the dues.
A statement issued after the hearing indicated that the banks will use all the information from the cross-examination to pursue available legal options to protect their rights and recover all the outstanding loans Ambani owes to them.
The TOI report went on to highlight that banks have so far no pursued enforcement action against Ambani’s assets in India due to the State Bank of India’s insolvency proceedings. It may be noted that the insolvency action has currently been stayed by the Delhi High Court.
However, it is likely that the three Chinese banks will soon initiate enforcement action against Anil Ambani’s assets outside India based on the disclosures in his affidavit.
On June 29, the UK High Court has asked Ambani to file an affidavit mentioning all his worldwide assets and liabilities, bank statements, share certificates, balance sheets, profit and losses accounts for all his businesses and evidence of all his trusts, including family trusts where he is a beneficiary.
However, minutes before the cross-examination, Ambani successfully obtained an order to not disclose his financial documents to third parties. However, his plea for a private cross-examination was rejected.
After the hearing, deputy master Justice Jervis Kay QC ordered Ambani to pay Rs 131 lakh on account of legal fees incurred by the banks towards the cross-examination till a detailed cross-assessment is prepared.
Meanwhile, the banks were also awarded legal costs in defending the unsuccessful privacy application. According to the TOI report, banks are seeking Rs 31 lakh as legal cost in this regard.
Following the hearing, a spokesperson for Anil Ambani said that he has always been a “simple man of simple tastes”, contrary to the exaggerated perceptions of his flamboyance and lavish lifestyle.
“He is devoted to his family and company; an avid marathon runner; and deeply spiritual. He is also a lifelong vegetarian, teetotaller and non-smoker who would much rather watch a movie at home with his kids than go out on the town. Reports that suggest otherwise are completely misleading,” the spokesperson added.
It may be noted that the dispute involves the three Chinese banks and Anil Ambani. The three banks had given loans worth Rs 6,817 crore to RCom in 2012. While RCom initially paid the instalments, the company later started defaulting.
However, the Chinese banks claimed that Ambani had provided a personal guarantee for the loan.