@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
Dubai/ London – In a recent leak of highly confidential documents, it has clearly emerged that of the many luxuries afforded by London-listed NMC Health founder B R Shetty, it was in fact, funds transferred from NMC that were used to purchase his private jet. The healthcare provider is stricken by $6.6 billion debt and Shetty has been alleged to have misrepresented his shareholdings in the company.
An inside source, investigating NMC Health’s scandal has revealed, “Evidence shows that during September 2014 BRS was requested to pay more than $4.2 million for a 50% stake in the private jet, which, at the time, was wholly owned by India-born Omani billionaire Puthan NC Menon.”
While there are already reports floating around that suggest BR Shetty had potentially used NMC Health’s funds to fuel his business empire and acquire luxurious assets, such as a couple of floors of the Burj Khalifa, these documents can prove to be incriminating.
Adds the source, “the documents show a number of payments from NMC Health to Menon’s companies which appear to be in relation to the jet agreement. Payments from NMC to Sobha Puravankara Private Aviation Ltd. have been made in August 2015 of AED 5 million followed by in March 2016 of AED 2,200,000. In April 2016 further transfers to the tune of AED 3,45,280 were done again.”
On the face of it, it did appear that Shetty had more than enough money, at least on paper, to afford such a lifestyle from companies he helped found, including hospital operator NMC Health Plc and financial services firm Finablr Plc. However, Carson Block’s investment firm, Muddy Waters, exposé in December 2019, on his complex share arrangements cast doubts on his net worth. His holdings were ascertained to be just a fraction of what he claimed to have.
Filings, earlier this year, have shown that Shetty pledged a quarter of his NMC stake against loans with First Abu Dhabi Bank and Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank. Two other shareholders may already own half of his reported stake. Another lender, Al Salam Bank Bahrain, has sold some of those shares to enforce security over a loan for Shetty, and NMC has also issued a statement claiming that First Abu Dhabi Bank sold another chunk earlier this month.
Since BRS Ventures Investment, the UAE-based holding company for most of Shetty’s assets, doesn’t report consolidated financials, a complete analysis of his net worth has not been possible.
In a statement made by Carson Block earlier this year, he was quoted saying he didn’t anticipate NMC’s shareholding drama. “I wouldn’t have been able to predict that we’d get these bizarre disclosures about unclear share ownership coming out of the company. This has been obviously a more dramatic unraveling than we usually see,” he said.
As further reports and stories emerge around BRS’s alleged use of NMC’s funds for his own vanity purchases, a big question that still looms large is whether this jet is yet another example of another alleged embezzlement on Shetty’s part.