India's richest man Ambani fined for irregularities in Reliance share issue

“It is noted that in the instant matter the noticees have been alleged to have failed to make public announcement to acquire shares of RIL and deprived the shareholders of their statutory rights / opportunity to exit from the target company and therefore they breached the provisions of Takeover Regulations. Such charges against the noticees make the instant matter grave,”Sebi has said in an order.


MUMBAI:

India’s market regulator fined Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and others 250 million rupees ($3.36 million) on Wednesday over irregularities in a two-decade-old share issue in the company.

Ambani, the country’s richest man, his family members and some entities linked to them were penalised by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for not making regulatory disclosures when they collectively raised their shareholding in Reliance by nearly 7% by subscribing to the January 2000 issue.

The penalty of Rs 25 crore will have to be jointly paid by the 34 individuals and entities who were allotted the warrants in the year 1994. These include brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani, their mother, wife and children.

Reliance Industries did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ambani and others “by their failure to make public announcement, deprived the shareholders of their statutory rights/opportunity to exit from the company”, the SEBI said in its order.

In January, the regulator fined Reliance 250 million rupees, and Ambani 150 million rupees, for what it said were fraudulent trades while selling a stake in a subsidiary in 2007.

Under the regulations, a promoter group acquiring more than 5 per cent of the voting rights, in any financial year ending March 31, needs to make an open offer to minority investors.

“It is noted that in the instant matter the noticees have been alleged to have failed to make public announcement to acquire shares of RIL and deprived the shareholders of their statutory rights / opportunity to exit from the target company and therefore they breached the provisions of Takeover Regulations. Such charges against the noticees make the instant matter grave,”Sebi has said in an order.

 Under Section 15H of the SEBI Act (amended in October 2002), a maximum penalty of Rs 25 crore or three times the amount of profits made out of the failure is allowed.


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