UAE to freeze assets of Indian Business tycoon B.R. Shetty


B.R. Shetty

Bavaguthu Raghuram (B.R.) Shetty, UAE-based billionaire and founder of NMC Health, UAE Exchange has been in the news since February. The UAE-based billionaire had to step down as co-chairman of NMC Health in February after the company’s shares fell over 70 per cent since December. The drop in shares came following allegations by a US investment firm that NMC Health inflated cash balances and understated its debt.

B.R. Shetty, a native of Karnataka had migrated to the UAE in 1973. He started work as a pharmaceutical salesman. With the success of his businesses, B.R. Shetty was regarded as the world’s richest Kannadiga, having a net worth of about $3.15 billion in 2019, according to Forbes. NMC Health operates around 200 hospitals and clinics in 19 countries.

Following the allegations about malpractices, it has been reported NMC Health had a debt of over $6 billion.

On Sunday, media outlets in the UAE reported that the Central Bank of the UAE has ordered financial institutions to freeze all accounts of B.R. Shetty and his family. Several companies associated with Shetty had been blacklisted.

B.R. Shetty had gone to India in February, citing the need to take care of his ailing brother, who subsequently passed away and is reportedly still in India.

After the allegations were levelled, he had announced that he had launched his own legal and forensic investigation into the allegations of malpractices at NMC Health.

Interestingly, B.R. Shetty was an activist of the erstwhile Jan Sangh, the predecessor to the BJP, before he went to the UAE. It has been reported that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had campaigned for Shetty during civic polls in Udupi in the 1960s. Shetty had played a key role in organising a visit of Modi to Abu Dhabi.