DUBAI, April 29 (Reuters) - The founder of troubled hospital operator NMC Health, BR Shetty, said on Wednesday a probe conducted by his own advisors has found alleged fraud at the firm and payments group Finablr and that he was working to clear his name.
NMC, the largest private healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates which was founded by Shetty in the mid 1970s, was placed under administration this month in London.
Finablr, in which Shetty has a controlling stake, said last month it was preparing for potential insolvency, while operations of its UAE unit were seized by the Gulf Arab state’s central bank
“The preliminary findings provided by my advisors from my own investigations indicate that serious fraud and wrongdoing appears to have taken place at NMC, Finablr PLC, as well as within some of my private companies, and against me personally,” said Shetty, in his first detailed statement regarding NMC’s troubles.
The joint administrators of NMC Health said they would review Shetty’s findings.
“We note the statement released today by Dr. Shetty. We will review it as part of our ongoing investigation into the affairs of NMC Health and look forward to Dr. Shetty sharing the findings of his investigation with us,” said a spokesman.
Finablr said in a statement the company takes all allegations of fraud and wrongdoing with the utmost seriousness and will continue actively to pursue all available lines of enquiry.
“The series of events since December 2019 have shocked me as much as anyone else, including the alleged fraud and misconduct at NMC, as well as the existence and extent of undisclosed company debts,” Shetty said.
NMC shares, which the firm plans to delist in London, were suspended after more than halving in value since December, when short-seller Muddy Waters questioned its financial reporting.
In recent months, NMC has revised its debt position to $6.6 billion, well above earlier estimates of $2.1 billion in June last year, as doubts emerged over the size of Shetty’s stake and those of other shareholders.
Shetty, who is currently based in India, said he ceased having a day-to-day executive role in the company in 2017 and since then had been joint non-executive chairman and shareholder. He stepped down from the NMC board on February 16.
Shetty said his advisors have shared information and evidence from their findings with all relevant boards, law enforcement and regulatory authorities. “I intend to work tirelessly to clear my name and assist any authorities in getting to the truth and help them ensure that misappropriated or missing funds are returned by the perpetrators to their rightful owners,” he said. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar. Editing by Carmel Crimmins)