Sebi finds rule violation in Adani Group’s disclosure, foreign funding

Officials, who are part of Sebi probe team, claimed violation was of "technical" nature, which might not attract more than a monetary penalty once the investigation is complete

Demat Account Sebi

New Delhi: An investigation carried out by stock market regulator, Security and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in to Adani Group has stumbled on the rule violations on disclosures by listed entities and limits on the holdings of offshore funding.

The Sebi had detected the norm violation while carrying out an inquiry in to Adani Group’s financial conduct after US-based Hindenburg Research raised governance concerns around the Gautam Adani-led group, shaving more than $100 billion from the market value of its companies.

Also Read: Finished probe in Adani Group’s conducts: SEBI to Supreme Court

Two officials of Sebi, who are part of the investigation team, claimed that the inquiry had noticed the violation was of “technical” nature, which might not attract more than a monetary penalty once the investigation is complete.

The Supreme Court of India, which is overseeing Sebi’s investigation of the Adani Group, is set to hear the matter on Tuesday. However, Sebi is said to have no plans to make the report public until the regulator has passed its orders on the Adani investigation, one of the sources said.

On Monday the group did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the regulator’s findings. Sebi did not respond to an email on the matter. On Friday, Sebi told the apex court it had very nearly completed its investigation into the Adani Group’s dealings.

Also Read: Sebi seeks six month’s time to probe Adani-Hindenburg issue

One key finding had been violations in disclosing certain related-party transactions, the sources said. “Transactions with a related party need to be identified and reported,” said one of them. “If not done, it could give an incorrect picture of the Indian listed company’s financials.”

In its court filing the regulator said it had examined 13 instances of related-party transactions. The penalty could go up to a maximum of ₹10 million ($121,000) for each violation by each entity, the sources added.

The inquiry also found that holdings of offshore funds in some Adani companies were not in line with the rules, they said. Indian law allows an offshore investor to invest a maximum of 10% in an Indian company via the foreign portfolio investor route with any larger investment classed as a foreign direct investment.

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“There are some inadvertent breaches of this limit by some offshore investors,” said the second of the two sources, but declined to give details. It was not immediately clear how big a fine the company could face for such breaches.

In its January response to Hindenburg’s accusations, the Adani Group said all related party transactions had been fully identified and disclosed. The group could not comment on the trading pattern of offshore investors as they were public shareholders, it added.

Sebi follows quasi-judicial processes before it publishes an order against an entity, which include giving it an opportunity to defend itself. The regulator can recommend actions ranging from monetary penalties to a ban from stock markets, depending on the seriousness of the violations.

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