Australian news, and some related international items

Gautum Adani has India’s government under control, – now Australia’s, too?

Carmichael coal mine magnate Gautam Adani: from school dropout to $12bn empire, The Age 18 Nov 17 
Adani’s push to build a mega coal mine in Queensland has polarised opinions nationwide. It should come as no surprise: the billionaire behind the project has long been a focus of controversy in his native India.
Tim Elliott
“………According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, the 55-year-old has a net worth of $US9.9 billion ($12.9 billion), placing him among the 10 richest people in India. As chairman of Adani Group, which he founded three decades ago, he presides over an empire with interests in mining, ports, power plants, real estate, renewable energy, food, and even defence……
To Australians, however, he is best known for his proposed $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine, to be built in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Construction was scheduled to start in October, but has been delayed due to political and financing issues. Should the mine proceed, it will be one of the largest in the world – roughly five times the size of Sydney Harbour – and produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal per year for anywhere between 50 and 60 years, all of which will be exported, the bulk of it to India…….
Adani has also been willing to operate at the very limits of India’s notoriously murky business world. His companies have been implicated in multiple instances of alleged corruption, including tax evasion, bribery, money laundering and large-scale illegal exports. In 2007, India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence began investigating companies in the Adani Group for evading taxes and laundering money while trading in diamonds and gold jewellery. (In 2015, following a complex and protracted case, the Supreme Court found partly in Adani’s favour, whilst conceding that the company had engaged in a “notorious misuse” of the government’s diamond export scheme.)

Companies in the Adani Group are being prosecuted in Delhi’s High Court for allegedly inflating the price of capital equipment imports, allowing the company to charge electricity consumers higher prices while diverting profits into tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Mauritius. (Adani denies any wrongdoing.)

“Adani should have been prosecuted for so many offences,” says Prashant Bhushan, a Delhi-based public interest lawyer who co-filed the High Court case. “There’s cheating the public and electricity consumers and shareholders; there are violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act. There are probably corruption cases involving the banks.”

And yet investigations into Adani’s companies have a habit of being shelved indefinitely, being resolved in his favour or simply disappearing. “Mr Adani has a lot of influence in high places,” Bhushan tells me. “It is obvious, for instance, that he is very good friends with [the Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi.” …….

Saysthe energy consultant Tim Buckley, “Adani is getting exactly the same sort of treatment from Australian politicians to that which he is used to back in India. He has been offered a $1 billion subsidised loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility [NAIF], and a $600 million royalty holiday and free water from Queensland taxpayers. And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve now learnt that the Queensland Government has compulsorily acquired prime agricultural land to make way for the Adani railway. It’s farcical.”……..


November 18, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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