While India's Reliance Group Chairman Mukesh Ambani has climbed his way up to become the fourth richest man in the world, his brother Anil Ambani's fortunes seem to be in shambles. The younger of the two brothers of the now-split Dhirubhai Ambani Group of India, told a London court on Friday that he has had to sell off all his jewelry to pay for his legal costs and current expenses are being borne by his wife and family.
The embattled chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), who went from being sixth richest person on the planet to 'zero net worth', Asaid that he is struggling everyday and is left with just one car. Ambani was appearing before the high court in London on Friday in a case brought against him by Chinese banks who are seeking to recover money from the former tycoon.
Life in Shambles
During the court hearing, Ambani said he received $1.34 million (Rs 9.9 crore) after selling all his jewelry between January and June 2020 and owns "nothing meaningful." In fact, Ambani said that he himself has no money left and his wife's savings are his only source of income now.
Ambani, who appeared through a video link, was subjected to three hours of a barrage of questions regarding his assets, liabilities and expenses. However, he refuted claims that he was leading a lavish lifestyle and said that media reports of his expensive fleet of cars bear no truth. "These are speculative media stories. I have never owned a Rolls-Royce. At present, I use one car."
He also told the court that he has received loans from his son. Earlier he made an application, which was unsuccessful, for the proceedings to be held in private, which the judge later summarized was made as Ambani was "concerned about his personal embarrassment".
Ambani Defends Himself
On May 22, the UK court had asked Ambani to pay $716.9 million (Rs 5,821 crore) and $750,000 or (Rs 7 crores) in legal costs to three Chinese banks by June 12, 2020. However, as he failed to do so, on June 15, the Chinese banks led by Industrial and Commerce Bank of China sought disclosure of Ambani's assets. The other two banks are China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China, which along with the Industrial and Commerce Bank of China claim that Ambani owes them a staggering $680 billion in dues after an alleged breach of personal guarantee on a debt refinancing loan of around $925 million.
Needless to say, Ambani is in no position to do so. "I don't have a lavish lifestyle and no other income. I met legal expense by sale of jewelry and, if I have to meet further expenses, [it] will be subject to approval by the court to dispose of other assets," he said.
Ambani, for the past one year, has been maintaining that he has negative net worth but the Chinese banks have been countering his claims. During Friday's court proceeding he was also asked about the yacht which he had allegedly gifted his wife but Ambani said that that he was seasick and that the family has not used the yacht for many years. "I am a 61-year-old man, I lead a very disciplined lifestyle. I do not drink...I do not smoke. Any suggestion of a lavish lifestyle is the creation of the media," he countered.
Ambani's lawyers have been pleading with the court to reduce the legal cost assessment made by the Chinese banks, as he is in no position to pay the amount decided by the court.