Eastern Eye (UK)

Jo Johnson steps away from Adani Group-linked UK firm


FORMER British prime minister Boris Johnson’s younger brother, Jo Johnson (right), has quit the board of Elara Capital, a UK investment firm linked to India’s embattled Adani Group.

Lord Jo Johnson’s resignatio­n as a non-executive director of Elara last Wednesday (1) came a day after Adani Enterprise­s scrapped its fully subscribed £2 billion (£1.64bn) follow-on public offer (FPO) amid the rout of the group’s companies in the stock market.

Adani Group’s listed companies saw their market valuation crash by more than 50 per cent after the US short seller Hindenburg Research accused the portto-power conglomera­te of “accounting fraud” and “manipulati­on”.

Top Adani executives, however, have denied the accusation­s.

Hindenburg also claimed that Elara’s Mauritius-based funds were part of a scheme to manipulate the share prices of Adani companies.

Elara, establishe­d in 2002 as a capital markets business to raise funds for

Indian corporates, was among the bookrunner­s for Adani Enterprise­s’ FPO.

Lord Johnson, who joined the firm last June “in the hope of making a contributi­on to UK-India trade and investment ties”, suggested his resignatio­n had nothing to do with the Adani controvers­ies. He said he was stepping down because of his lack of “domain expertise”.

“I have consistent­ly received assurances from Elara Capital that it is compliant with its legal obligation­s and in good standing with regulatory bodies,” the Conservati­ve peer said. “At the same time, I now recognise that this is a role that requires greater domain expertise in specialise­d areas of financial regulation than I anticipate­d.”.

Eastern Eye’s requests to Elara for comment on Lord Johnson’s exit and Hindenburg’s allegation­s were not answered until Monday (13) evening.

Lord Meghnad Desai, a non-executive director at Elara, said he had contacted chief executive Raj Bhatt and Mauritius’ financial regulator about Hindenburg’s allegation­s, according to a Financial Times report.

Founded by its chief executive Bhatt, the London-headquarte­red Elara has offices in New York, Singapore, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

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