A UK court has ordered Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani to pay $717 million (almost Rs 5,448 crore) to three Chinese banks within 21 days, after ruling that a personal guarantee which the Indian businessman had disputed was binding.
A spokesperson for Anil Ambani said he was seeking legal advice on the future course of action. “As far as the judgment of the UK court is concerned, the question of any enforcement in India does not arise in the near future,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The UK order will also not have any bearing on the operations of other Reliance Group companies — Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital, the statement said.
Legal experts, however, said if Ambani didn’t pay in the next 21 days, the lenders would have the option to “pursue all available options for enforcement of order”, which could include “going after his personal assets and wealth”.
Justice Nigel Teare of the Commercial Division of the High Court of England and Wales in London in his order earlier this week also awarded court costs in favour of the banks, adding another 750,000 pounds to the amount owed. The judge also vacated a trial date in the case previously set for March 18 next year.
The latest direction is the outcome of the legal route taken by three Chinese banks — Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd, China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China — which had sued Ambani in London for allegedly failing to repay $708 million of loans, including interests. The loans were taken by his company, Reliance Communications, and according to the banks he was a personal guarantor to the loans. Ambani had denied providing authority for any guarantee.