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US is investigating billionaire Adani and his group over alleged bribery

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US prosecutors have expanded their investigation into India’s Adani Group to include allegations of bribery and scrutinize the actions of the company’s billionaire founder, according to individuals familiar with the matter.

The inquiry is focusing on whether an Adani entity or individuals associated with the company, including Gautam Adani himself, were involved in paying officials in India to secure favorable treatment for an energy project according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to Bloomberg.

The probe, which also encompasses Indian renewable energy company Azure Power Global Ltd., is being overseen by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Justice Department’s fraud unit in Washington.

In response to inquiries, the Adani Group stated via email that they were unaware of any investigation involving their chairman.

They emphasized their commitment to operating with the highest standards of governance and compliance with anti-corruption laws both in India and abroad.

Gautam Adani, his company, and Azure Power have been charged with any wrongdoing by the Justice Department, and investigations do not always result in prosecutions.

Adani Group, a significant player in India’s economy with interests spanning various sectors, has attracted investment from around the globe.

US law permits federal prosecutors to pursue allegations of foreign corruption if they involve connections to American investors or markets.

The investigation into Adani Group comes amidst previous allegations of stock price manipulation and accounting fraud raised by short-seller Hindenburg Research early last year.

While the company vehemently denied these allegations, both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission initiated inquiries into the matter.

The current probe into Adani Group is reported to be in an advanced stage. However, the DOJ has the discretion to conduct investigations without prior notification to the parties involved.

Adani Group and Azure Power are competitors in India’s green energy sector, with both companies securing contracts for projects under the same state-run solar program. Adani Group, in particular, is positioning itself as a leading renewable energy company, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives to promote green energy.

FCPA investigations, such as the one involving Adani Group, can be protracted affairs, often spanning several years due to the complexity of gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses located outside the US.

Nonetheless, they tend to be high-profile cases with significant potential consequences for the companies involved.

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