Jeff Bezos Surpasses Billionaire Gautam Adani As World’s Third-Richest Person After Short Seller’s Scathing Report – Forbes

Topline

Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, chairman of the sprawling Indian conglomerate Adani Group, ceded the title of the world’s third-richest person to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Wednesday, after a famed short-seller released a scathing report accusing Adani of an alleged decades-long scheme to manipulate the firm’s stock price—claims an Adani executive has vehemently denied.

Key Facts

As shares of publicly traded companies tumbled on Wednesday, Adani’s fortune fell by $6.5 billion to about $119.1 billion—falling below Bezos’ net worth of $119.9 billion, according to Forbes estimates.

Adani, once the world’s second-richest person, remains the richest person in Asia (he’s trailed by Reliance Industries chair Mukesh Ambani, who’s worth an estimated $85 billion), but Wednesday marks the first time since September the 60-year-old is not among the world’s three richest people.

The stock rout comes after activist investment firm Hindenburg Research disclosed a short position against the conglomerate (which includes interests in energy, real estate and India’s largest port) and alleged Adani Group companies “engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”

As part of its claims, Hindenburg said it found Adani’s family members have managed a “vast labyrinth” of offshore shell companies that moved billions of dollar into publicly traded Adani companies, often without required disclosures, in an effort to appear financially healthy, launder money and manipulate the firms’ stock prices.

In a statement shared to Forbes, Adani Group CFO Jugeshinder Singh dismissed Hindenburg’s report, saying it is “a malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations that have been tested and rejected by India’s highest courts.”

Tangent

The world’s richest person remains luxury goods mogul Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton parent LVMH. He’s worth an estimated $212 billion. With a fortune of $160 billion, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the world’s second-richest person.

Surprising Fact

Over the past years, short-seller Hindenburg has helped spark regulatory investigations into multiple multi-billion-dollar companies. In a 2020 report last year, the firm called electric-vehicle company Nikola a “fraud,” and alleged then-Chairman Trevor Milton misled investors about the company’s business. Milton, who lost his billionaire status after the report, has since been charged and convicted of criminal fraud charges.

Further Reading

Adani Group Shares Slide After Hindenburg Alleges ‘Largest Con In Corporate History’ (Forbes)

India’s Gautam Adani Is Now Richest Asian Billionaire Ever As Fortune Jumps Past $100 Billion (Forbes)