Skip to main content

Adani's Aussie coalmining project: Greenpeace, 350.org, finance body seek probe into ownership allegation

By Our Representative
At least two prestigious and high-profile international environmental bodies -- Greenpeace and 350.org -- and a research institute,Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), have sought complete clarity and investigation into fresh allegations by Fairfax, Australia's leading media company, about doubtful ownership of the Adani Group's $10 billion Australian coal-mining project. A report in Australian daily "The Age" says Fairfax has raised serious objection to the "use of offshore, low-tax jurisdictions in relation to its Australian operations, and the apparent uncertainty about ownership."
The paper quotes Fairfax to say that "Gautam Adani does not ultimately control many of the companies associated with his company's Australian coal developments", and instead "his eldest brother Vinod Shantilal Adani holds pivotal positions." In fact, "Fairfax Media particularly questions Vinod Adani's antecedents, as he has been named in an Indian criminal investigation into the alleged siphoning of $1 billion from Indian shareholders in three Adani companies into offshore accounts."
According the "The Age" the allegations have been "confirmed to Fairfax by an investigator in India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, stem from an import scheme in which three Adani companies are alleged to have imported power equipment at an inflated price, with the excess sum siphoned into a Mauritius entity controlled by Vinod Shantilal Shah – an alias for Vinod Shantilal Adani."

Greenpeace Objection

Citing "explosive" Fairfax Media report, Greenpeace Australia Pacific has demanded "an investigation into coal giant Adani’s suitability to operate in Queensland, Australia", It has said, "The scandal revealed inconsistencies between Indian and Australian financial reports. Adani’s Abbot Point T1 coal terminal and their rail and port expansion projects could in fact be controlled by a complex network of companies run through the Cayman Islands. The investigation into the Adani companies by Fairfax Media, one of Australia’s largest media companies, suggests uncertainty about the ultimate ownership of the Abbot Point development."
Pointing out that this shows the Queensland government "may not have known if these projects were owned by a publicly listed Indian company or a shadowy group of companies run through a tax haven,” Greenpeace Australia’s Reef Campaigner Shani Tager said, “It’s critical that these explosive revelations are investigated before any of Adani’s coal developments can proceed further.” Tager adds, "In Adani’s home country of India, the company has been fined for a raft of illegal activities, including paying cash bribes to port officials, customs, police and local politicians to receive 'undue favour for illegal exports'."
Greenpace also quotes Environmental Justice Australia's recent report questioning Adani’s "suitability to operate in Queensland given their track record", saying, “We already know Adani doesn't play by the rules. This is a coal billionaire who will do whatever it takes to make a quick buck.The only sensible response to these revelations is a comprehensive investigation into the Adani Group’s suitability to operate in Queensland given the potential impact of their plans for a mega coal mine, rail line and port in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.”

350.org calls for moratorium

Speaking out in the same vein, 350.org has called for "moratorium on Abbot Point coal port expansion in light of what it calls “Adani-gate” findings." According to 350.org, "The port expansion, which would be the world’s largest, would open up a series of nine mega coalmines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, tripling Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions."
It adds, "Construction is slated to begin as soon as the project receives Federal approval... However 350.org believes the approval process must be halted following ground-breaking new information uncovered by Fairfax, which reveals that most of the companies associated with Adani’s Australian coal operations are not controlled by the public face of the company, Gautam Adani, but by his eldest brother Vinod."
Says 350.org, "Company documents reveal that Adani sold its stake in Abbot Point in 2013 to a Singaporean company, however this was not made known to Australian authorities or the Bombay stock exchange. Adani was also found to still control a number of Australian companies linked to its Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin, despite excluding these companies from its 2013-14 accounts. These disturbing new allegations about Indian company Adani call into question the legitimacy of the approvals process for Abbot Point and the Galilee Basin coal mines.”

Investigate ownership: IEEFA 

Chipping into the controversy, Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies, Australasia, of the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), also said, "it is critical that a detailed inquiry and investigation by state and federal agencies commences immediately to ensure that financial markets are being provided accurate information about Adani’s proposed coal mine, rail and port projects in Queensland.” 
He insisted, “The assertions reported go to the very heart of our continued analysis of Adani’s operations here and overseas. They create even stronger doubts about the key questions of their financial viability, corporate transparency and strategic logic in the face of the structural decline of seaborne thermal coal markets.”
Buckley also said, "As IEEFA has previously documented, the Galilee coal project proposals are highly unlikely to proceed without the support of the four Australian bank majors, plus some of the nine leading global investment banks. While export-import banks like the Korean Export-Import Bank could be material players, given that their focus is more risk-tolerant towards greenfield projects, even they will be involved only if there is a clear strategic national benefit." 
He added, “These reports today should be a loud warning for any investors and financiers until an investigation has been carefully undertaken and completed. A very serious set of questions needs to be answered.”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.