NMC’s BR Shetty, 5 others face fraud, forgery charges
Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which has the largest exposure of Dh3 billion to NMC Healthcare, has filed a criminal complaint, alleging “fraud and forgery” against six people, including founder BR Shetty, and former CEO Prasnath Manghat, linked to the embattled group.
ADCB confirmed the move in a statement on Wednesday but did not identify the accused.
However, a copy of the complaint obtained by Khaleej Times identified, besides Shetty and Manghat, other four accused as Suresh Kumar, Prashanth Shenoy, Saeed Mohamed Butti Mohamed Al Qebaisi and Khaleefa Butti Omair Yousif Ahmad Al Muhairi.
ADCB said it was “acting on its own behalf and on behalf of its subsidiary Al Hilal Bank and its acquired bank United National Bank”. The charges levelled against the accused include forgery of financial records and fraud.
“The fraud was committed as a result of collusion between the accused to fabricate and use forged financial statements in which they had willfully misstated the accumulated liabilities of the NMC Group,” said the complaint.
Besides, “the accused presented false valuations to ADCB and its subsidiaries and materially misstated their ability to service the best such that the complainant was fraudulently deceived into granting facilities which NMC drew down.” ADCB said in its complaint.
Shetty, who is India, told Khaleej Times that he had worked with all lending banks for decades as they were key partners that helped him build his businesses in the UAE.
“As I said last week, given my own legal and forensic investigations are now starting to produce some findings, and in consideration of some of the misleading and false allegations that have made against me, I will be looking to respond in the appropriate manner and with the appropriate authorities both in the UAE and elsewhere. As I stated last week I am absolutely determined to bring to light the full facts, and the whole truth, around what has transpired as soon as possible,” he said.
Apart from requesting for the opening of a criminal case against the accused for the offences cited, the lender pleaded to the public prosecution to conduct “an investigation into the accused and their involvement in the offences outlined in the complaint and issue a travel ban to prevent them from travelling” and direct “the Central Bank to freeze all accounts belonging to the accused and all their family members, up to three degrees removed, as well as private company accounts belonging to them, to prevent disposal of assets”.
The lender also requested the prosecution to direct “all economic departments and free zone authorities in the UAE to identify and freeze all companies or economic entities belonging to the accused, or members of their families to prevent the disposal of assets, including any movable and/or immovable property and real estate inside and outside the state; and authorize a raid and search of the residence of all the accused including the confiscation of all papers and financial documents, computers and any other relevant evidence.”
Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, has said what happened with NMC “is a world-class fraud, and the management and board members should be held accountable.”
Faisal Belhoul, chairman of Ithmar Capital Partners, who had to quit within days after taking over the reins of NMC Health as its executive chairman last week, said on Tuesday it was crucial that “an investigation into all wrongdoings at the company should be pursued.”
NMC Health has a market value of $2.4 billion and a total debt of $6.6 billion. Since December 2019, after the US short-seller Muddy Waters questioned its financial irregularities, NMC share value had shrunk by more 70 per cent.
More than 80 local, regional and international banks have exposure to the scandal-marred firm. Banks in the UAE had disclosed nearly Dh10 billion exposures.