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Shuli Ren

How the ‘Madoffs of Manhattan’ Can Unravel Gautam Adani’s Empire

There are already mounting markets concerns about Adani’s creditworthiness. With Evergrande’s crash fresh in investors’ minds, the Indian billionaire is in a risky place. 

Pushing hard.

Pushing hard.

Photographer: Indranil Aditya/Bloomberg

The bitter battle between the Adani Group and Hindenburg Research is heating up. In a rebuttal to Hindenburg’s claim that Indian tycoon Gautam Adani has overseen the “largest con in corporate history,” the company took on a dramatic tone, calling the New York-based research outfit the “Madoffs of Manhattan.” The activist short-seller’s report, Adani said, was a “calculated attack on India” and its “growth story and ambition.”

Never mind that Hindenburg’s founder Nathan Anderson had worked with Harry Markopolos, the analyst who uncovered Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that robbed investors of as much as $65 billion. If anything, that puts Anderson in an anti-Madoff camp. Even as Hindenburg responded swiftly to Adani’s rebuttal, saying it failed to answer “62 of our 88 questions,” it is nonetheless worth pondering what the short seller might focus on next to win over investors’ minds and money.