BR Shetty: From Rags To Riches And Back, Indian Billionaire

From rags to riches and back, the story of NRI billionaire Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty

BR Shetty: From Rags To Riches And Back, Indian Billionaire

BR Shetty: From Rags To Riches And Back, Indian billionaire

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has instructed financial institutions in United Arab Emirates to search and freeze all bank accounts of Indian billionaire BR Shetty and his family along with those of companies where he has a stake.

The apex bank has also blacklisted several firms associated with BR Shetty along with their entire senior management.

Financial institutions have been directed to stop transfers from these accounts and deny access to deposit boxes.

It was on April 9 that NMC was placed under the UK Court’s supervisory oversight. The UK legal system came into effect because NMC had listed on London Stock Exchange in 2012.

“Be careful what you wish, for wishes do come true,” the maxim seems to be true in the case of Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty (BR Shetty) who in an interview in 2018, remarked, “If I don’t have one problem a day, that’s not a good day for me. I should have a problem, solve it and then feel satisfied.”

Muddy Water Spills On NMC Health & BR Shetty

Muddy Waters (named after the Chinese proverb, “Muddy waters make it easy to catch fish”, not the blues singer) is a controversial research firm run by short-seller Carson Block, who has made a name exposing accounting frauds in Chinese public companies. He shot to fame in 2011 when he issued a report accusing Canada-listed Chinese plantation operator Sino Forest of overstating its timber holdings. The stock tanked 78% in days, and billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson lost $110 million. That’s when Wall Street first took note of the new kid on the block. Short-sellers like him bet on the price of a stock going down.

Muddy Waters has disclosed in its report that NMC Health which has an exposure to at least a dozen banks in UAE may have understated its debt by at least $4.5 billion and dressed up its accounts to show large margins as well as invested in large assets that were too high to be plausible.

BR Shetty & NMC Health

BR Shetty’s wish seems to have come true as he has been overwhelmed with problems ever since his fortunes dwindled after becoming one of first Indians to make his fortune in the UAE’s healthcare industry when he set up NMC Health in the 1970s and grew it exponentially.

BR Shetty was the living embodiment of the Indian economic dream. He was born in Kaup, Udupi in Karnataka and worked as the Vice Chairman of the Municipal Council in Udupi.

BR Shetty In A Pool Of Loans

NMC reportedly owns money to 80 institutions and according to Bloomberg. NMC Health owes Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) $963 million, Dubai Islamic Bank $541 million, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank $325 million, Standard Chartered $250 million and Barclays $146 million.

At the age of 77, Shetty finds himself grappling with problems so severe they threaten to obliterate everything he built from scratch over four decades, and irreparably besmirch his legacy.

The Boy From Kapu

However, success never made B R Shetty lose his humility and look back at his humble beginnings, he always made a point to give it back to the society, help businesses in need, the jobless looking for opportunities in UAE and contribute to the overall welfare of communities, by committing to donate at least half a part of his personal fortune to the Giving Pledge, a campaign by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

Forbes estimated his personal fortune to be worth $4.2 billion in 2018. The staggering rise of Dr B R Shetty in the Persian Gulf is a source of inspiration for many. However, no one ever thought times would change for the NRI billionaire, and his companies would report losses, be accused of frauds and go hugely in debt.

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