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   Strategies & Market TrendsThe Financial Collapse of 2001 Unwinding

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 8:07:32 AM
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Google attacked the heart of Micrososft's business when it launched its G Suite. Microsoft can now strike back at the heart of Google's business.

Microsoft could decide to integrate chat-based AI technologies like ChatGPT into Bing to differentiate their product and go after market share from Google and Meta.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 8:21:06 AM
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The world is not ready for the long grind to come

Demographic changes and deglobalisation will keep inflation higher than policymakers were used to pre-pandemic

One in eight people say they plan ‘no return’ to pre-pandemic activities, including work

ELMAT: By the world, the Financial Times means North America and Europe. The rest of the wordl have been grinding along with no'quiet quitting', 'acting your wage' or 'great resignation'.
The rest of the world will take the salaries of these workers the same way it took manufacturing...

Ruchir Sharma YESTERDAY The writer is chair of Rockefeller International

Over the past half century, as governments and central banks teamed up ever more closely to manage economic growth, recessions became fewer and farther between. Often they were shorter and shallower than they might have been. After so much mildness, most people cannot imagine a painfully lasting business cycle. But the global economy is heading into a period unlike any we have seen in decades.

Faith in government as a saviour in recessions has been worming its way into people’s minds for most of their lifetimes. Since 1980, the US economy has spent only 10 per cent of the time in a recession, compared with nearly 20 per cent between the end of the second world war in 1945 and 1980, and more than 40 per cent between 1870 and 1945. One increasingly important reason is government rescues. Combined stimulus in the US, the EU, Japan and the UK, including government spending and central bank asset purchases, rose from 1 per cent of gross domestic product in the recessions of 1980 and 1990 to 3 per cent in 2001, 12 per cent in 2008 and a staggering 35 per cent in 2020.

Though the 2020 recession was sharp, it was the shortest since records begin, lasting just two months. Government bailouts in the pandemic came so fast and large that it felt to many people, particularly white-collar employees working from home, as if the recession never happened. Their incomes and credit scores went up. Their wealth exploded with rising stock and bond markets. Now this experience of recession as a non-event seems baked into the professional psyche.

Some commentators are beginning to say the world economy could be in for a “soft landing”, not an outright recession. In the latest consensus surveys, economists aren’t quite that optimistic. But they continue to expect the mildest recession since the second world war, starting soon and lasting less than six months, as the Federal Reserve again comes to the rescue.

This consensus view may be wrong in key respects, whether on how soon the next recession arrives, how long it lasts or how generous the rescue effort can be.

In 2020, governments injected so much money into the economy that consumers are still sitting on much of it two years on — $1.5tn in the US alone. Investment by US and European business barely broke stride. Governments continue to spend. Because of this, the next downturn may come later than expected, a view bolstered by the latest US GDP data, which showed a resilient economy.

When the pandemic stimulus finally runs out by year end, the next downturn, once it comes, may not pass so quickly. The key sticking point is inflation. This is now retreating almost as quickly as it surged last year — as supply chains normalise and “revenge spending”, unleashed by the end of lockdowns and boosted by stimulus, calms down. But it is not likely to return to its pre-pandemic level of under 2 per cent.

The most lasting legacy of Covid may be its impact on work and wage inflation. One in eight people say they plan “no return” to pre-pandemic activities, including work. The number of hours people of all ages want to work plunged, and their attitude has changed as well. Social media celebrates “quiet quitting” and “acting your wage” — meaning do what you are paid for, and no more.

In conversations I hear chief executives saying that they have “pricing power” for the first time in decades. Inflation for goods such as cars is slowing fast, but that for services is stickier. The Fed tracks a special index for “sticky services” like real estate and recreation — in which prices move slowly — and it is rising.

Meanwhile, the world is changing in fundamentally inflationary ways: birth rates have been falling for years but are now rapidly shrinking working-age populations. Countries are retreating inward, offshoring to the nearest and most friendly nations rather than to the least costly.

The pressure from demographics and deglobalisation will push the new normal for inflation higher, closer to 4 than to 2 per cent. This will make it harder for central banks to cut rates to counter the next recession. Higher rates mean governments can borrow and spend heavily to stimulate sluggish economies only at risk of inviting punishment in the global bond markets, which are already much less tolerant of free spending.

While the next downturn may take longer to hit, it is likely to take an unfamiliar shape, possibly not much deeper but more enduring, as stickier inflation forces central banks and government rescue teams to the sidelines. The world is not ready for the long grind ahead.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 8:36:56 AM
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Amazon Alexa is a “colossal failure,” on pace to lose $10 billion this year

Layoffs reportedly hit the Alexa team hard as the company's biggest money loser. RON AMADEO - 11/21/2022, 10:32 PM

Amazon is going through the biggest layoffs in the company's history right now, with a plan to eliminate some 10,000 jobs. One of the areas hit hardest is the Amazon Alexa voice assistant unit, which is apparently falling out of favor at the e-commerce giant. That's according to a report from Business Insider, which details "the swift downfall of the voice assistant and Amazon's larger hardware division."

Alexa has been around for 10 years and has been a trailblazing voice assistant that was copied quite a bit by Google and Apple. Alexa never managed to create an ongoing revenue stream, though, so Alexa doesn't really make any money. The Alexa division is part of the "Worldwide Digital" group along with Amazon Prime video, and Business Insider says that division lost $3 billion in just the first quarter of 2022, with "the vast majority" of the losses blamed on Alexa. That is apparently double the losses of any other division, and the report says the hardware team is on pace to lose $10 billion this year. It sounds like Amazon is tired of burning through all that cash.

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From: elmatador1/30/2023 11:32:44 AM
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Iran says drone attack on military site in Isfahan was thwarted

"US officials and people familiar with the operation" as saying Israel had carried out the attack. The New York Times said it was the work of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, according to "senior [US] intelligence officials".

The Iranian defence ministry says it has foiled a drone attack on a military facility in the city of Isfahan.

Iran warns Israel not to ‘play with fire’ after drone attack on defense facility

Official threatens revenge as ‘first indications’ suggest Jerusalem carried out attack, claims Israelis using propaganda to cover up operation’s failure

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From: elmatador1/31/2023 12:36:53 AM
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Affirmative Action does not guarantee employment. It is implemented when the good times roll: "In 2021, Google raked in over $250 billion in revenue, its best-ever income in its nearly 25-year-old existence."
You can hire lots of gender equality-based hiring, including creating a Mental Help dept. The diversity thing depend on huge profits and Easy Money

After layoffs, Meta, tech companies face uphill battle to boost diversity

By Naomi Nix

January 28, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EST

When Brit Levy was hired for a 12-month training program on recruiting at Meta last year, she says she was promised the program wasn't at risk from cutbacks. But she and most of the other participants in the program, which focused on recruiting a diverse workforce, were laid off when Meta cut its workforce by 13 percent later in the year. (Alisha Jucevic for The Washington Post)

Brit Levy, 35, was eager to join Meta’s paid training program for aspiring human resources managers last year because she wanted to gain a foothold in the recruiting field and help other military families find jobs in the lucrative tech sector.

Tech is not your friend. We are. Sign up for The Tech Friend newsletter.

Levy, who is Mexican American, agreed to start the 12-month gig in April after she checked with Meta that her position would be secure for the duration of the program despite the company’s financial challenges. She was told that the program, which aimed to improve the pipeline of recruiters who focus on diversity, was fully funded for the year.

About six months later, Meta laid off Levy and most of the other participants in her program, along with 13 percent of its full-time workers, amid falling revenue growth from a sluggish economy and more competition in the social media market.

“What they did to this program, I would never ever recommend anyone sign up for a diversity program with Meta,” Levy said. “Basically, [Meta] cut us off at the knees.”

Levy’s experience illustrates the uphill battle Meta and other technology companies face as they trim their workforces while maintaining commitments to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities within their ranks.

The technology industry has long struggled to recruit a diverse workforce, but the recent spate of cuts by Silicon Valley companies has hit women particularly hard, according to recently published analyses of demographic data from the layoffs. Women and some minorities were particularly vulnerable to layoffs because they were newer to their jobs and occupied roles that companies were less interested in retaining, experts said.

Diversity “was never their strong suit,” said Benjamín Juárez, a co-founder of Latinos in Tech, a group that offers training in technical skills. “It’s likely not going to be during this downtime.”

Many of the biggest tech companies had grown the ranks of women and minorities during the pandemic with the lure of remote work, which had allowed the firms to recruit across a wider geographic area and hire people who otherwise would have preferred to remain at home.

But the layoffs threaten those gains. One analysis of data from tech layoff tracker found that women represented about 39 percent of the overall workforce but 46 percent of all layoffs since September, according to Reyhan Ayas, a senior economist at Revelio Labs, a company that analyzes trends in the labor market. Hispanic workers were also slightly more likely to be represented among the layoffs than they were in the workforce, according to Revelio data.

“Overall, definitely nontechnical roles are more affected, women are more affected,” Ayas said. “And [diversity, equity and inclusion] efforts in general have been hindered at least in some companies by the layoffs in the last year or so.”

One reason women and Hispanic workers may have been disproportionately targeted by the cuts is because companies used a “last in, first out” strategy to decide which jobs to keep and which to cut. The average length of service of a laid-off worker was just one year, much shorter than the length of time remaining employees had spent at the company, according to Revelio. Laid-off workers were more likely to work in positions that the tech companies were eager to cut, including recruiting and customer service positions, the data showed.

“When you have a shorter tenure, you don’t have that many friends and connections within the organization, so you tend to also be on the chopping block first,” said Bhaskar Chakravorti, the dean of global business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “The last-in-first-out has affected a wide swath of people, but because women and minorities were hired disproportionately in the last couple of years they have also been fired disproportionately.”

Meta is one company that used remote work during the pandemic to make gains in diversity. Between 2021 and 2022, the share of Black, Hispanic, multiracial and Asian employees in its U.S. workforce increased, while the share of White workers dropped by 1.5 percentage points, according to Meta’s annual diversity report. Leaders at the company also became more diverse, with the share of women, Black and Hispanic managers increasing, according to the report.

Meta Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams said last year that candidates in the United States who accepted remote job offers were more likely to come from underrepresented racial groups; globally, they were more likely to be women.

Between 2021 and 2022, the share of women in Meta’s workforce grew slightly from 36.7 percent to 37.1 percent, according to Meta’s report.

Chakravorti added that remote workers may also have been particularly vulnerable to cuts because they were given less-critical assignments and had less face time with their managers compared with workers who were going into the office.

“As people started coming back into the offices, there was sort of a two-tiered citizenship within a particular company” between people who worked completely remotely and those who went into the office at times, he said.

The easing of pandemic-era safety restrictions hit Meta at a time when its core business model was experiencing other severe threats. The social media giant has been competing for both users and advertising dollars from rival apps such as TikTok. Apple introduced new privacy restrictions that hurt the company’s ability to collect data on its users for the purposes of targeted advertising. Meanwhile, marketers have been pulling back on advertising spending because of uncertainty in the global economy.

Over the summer, Meta executives issued a dizzying number of directives, outlining a new era of higher performance expectations, and slowed hiring as the company emerged from the pandemic with a growing list of economic challenges. Managers were asked to identify their low performers, which prompted a wave of anxiety and resentment among Facebook’s workforce.

Meta’s treatment of minority workers was already facing scrutiny. In 2020, an African American manager and two job applicants who were rejected by Facebook filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that the company is biased against Black employees in evaluations, promotions, pay and hiring practices. The case is ongoing.

“It’s not the case that they were only laying off people who were low performers,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, a lawyer who represents the complainants in the case. “To the extent that the company was laying someone off because they were a lower performer, I think it’s very clear that that is problematic because Meta’s evaluation system is riddled with discriminatory problems.”

In November, Lori Goler, Meta’s human resources chief, told remaining employees after the layoffs that the company didn’t explicitly take diversity into consideration when it decided which positions to cut, according to a recording of the meeting listened to by The Washington Post.

“The way we thought about DEI,” Golder said, using an acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion, “was the same way that we think about it in all our people processes, which is the less discretion and the more objectivity you have in any of your people processes, the better it’s going to be for DEI.” The recruiting team was hit particularly hard, she said.

One of the strategies the company used, she said during the call, was “this sort of idea of last in, first to move out. And that’s the way that you get to more objective criteria. And there were several ways that we did that across the org as we tried to move forward with the plans and the layoffs.”

Goler also said roughly 46 percent of the layoffs came from the technology teams, while 54 percent came from the business side of the company. At Meta, women and people of color are more likely to hold roles on the business side of the company than they are to be in engineering roles.

As Meta’s financial situation worsened and the company began slowing down and then freezing hiring, Levy said there was far less for her and her colleagues to do. So at times, she spent many of her days reaching out to other Meta employees to learn more about the company and their career paths.

Two months after the cuts, Levy said she is still having trouble finding a job in recruiting or any other field. So far, she said, she has applied to hundreds of jobs but only secured a few interviews.

“I’m applying for everything,” Levy said. “It’s been tough.” © 1996-2023 The Washington Post

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To: DinoNavarre who wrote (10124)1/31/2023 12:38:08 AM
From: elmatador
   of 12763
Prepare for Big Tech's Next 5 Years
They will divest assets to help these companies streamline their operations, reduce costs, and improve their financial performance. Submarine cables and datacenters will be sold to private equity.
The same way mobile operators sold their towers and their datacenters. Brookfield Asset Management BlackRock KKR among others and, last but not the least, the Gulf sovereign wealth funds flush with oil revenues.

I am doing McKinsey & Company job here

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From: Elroy Jetson2/1/2023 2:28:29 PM
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In the state of Arizona Trump's typical performance will become a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender.

Young man, no need to feel down - unless he performs in Arizona.

A new bill in Arizona would criminalize drag in presence of a minor, defined as singing or dancing while wearing make-up. -

The old entertainer Donald Trump in make-up performing crowd-favorite YMCA by the Village People

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From: Elroy Jetson2/1/2023 11:36:20 PM
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Brexit's a complete disaster for trade - Shropshire business owner -

Three years on since the UK left the European Union (EU), a Midlands business owner has described the move as a "complete disaster".

Nic Laurens, who runs an abrasives supply firm in Shropshire, moved 90% of his company to the Republic of Ireland in order to remain in the EU.

Higher costs and piles of paperwork to export goods left customers with four-week waits for orders, he said.

The UK government has claimed "trade to both EU and non-EU countries is above pre-Covid levels".

However, Mr Laurens, a former Conservative councillor, said Brexit had left his firm facing filling out 24 forms to export goods into the EU.

"Brexit has [caused] barriers to trade and additional costs that you have to pass on to the consumer," he told the BBC.

"We've had to completely rethink our business model.

"The UK hasn't grown, it has stagnated, but the Irish side of the business has gone from strength to strength."

Mr Laurens' company supplies abrasive tool parts

All of the products at his company, Severn Diamond Tools and Abrasives, are manufactured abroad.

"We never ship anything from the UK to Ireland anymore. The last time we did, it took four weeks for a parcel to arrive to the customer. Before Brexit it used to take three days," Mr Laurens said.

"As a business, we have no plans to invest in the UK market because of the uncertainty around the government."

Nationally, when the British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 500 firms, more than half of them said they were still grappling with the rules for trading within the Union.

The red tape may have deterred some small exporters altogether. A study of customs classifications shows the variety of goods British businesses export has diminished.

Leaving the EU also meant changes to the rules on the free movement of labour and the introduction of a points-based immigration system that has prompted complaints from some unlikely quarters.

Shamim Husein-Miya, the business director of Five Rivers Restaurant, said the Walsall firm had had to adapt the way it recruited staff. "As a business, we looked at overseas recruitment for many years before Brexit, but now it has been more challenging."

However, as many around the country struggle to cope with the rising cost-of-living, the restaurateur said it had boosted staffing levels, with many people now seeking second jobs and other means of income.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted the UK economy will shrink and perform worse than other advanced economies, including Russia, as the cost of living continues to hit households.

The IMF forecasts the UK economy will contract by 0.6% in 2023, rather than grow slightly as previously predicted.

The UK government has previously claimed Brexit "opens new opportunities for UK businesses" but can't point to any.

Speaking in December, it said: "Despite difficult global economic headwinds, UK-EU trade is rebounding, with recent data showing that UK trade to both EU and non-EU countries is above pre-Covid levels," adding exporters had been provided with "practical support" with post-Brexit trading arrangements.

"We've also removed 400 trade barriers across 70 countries in the past two years, removed tariffs on £30bn worth of goods and cut £1bn business costs arising from current retained EU law," a spokesperson added.

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To: elmatador who wrote (10258)2/2/2023 2:05:34 AM
From: nicewatch
   of 12763
This is getting serious. Timberrrr!!!!!?????

Adani Abruptly Abandons $2.4 Billion Stock Sale as Crisis Mounts

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To: nicewatch who wrote (10280)2/2/2023 4:25:41 AM
From: elmatador
2 Recommendations   of 12763
Mogul Lost Tens of Billions of Dollars in Days. What Happened?
Gautam Adani is facing perhaps his biggest challenge yet as a small U.S. investment firm accuses his Indian conglomerate of fraud and stock manipulation.

By Vivek Shankar

Published Jan. 31, 2023Updated Feb. 1, 2023

Louis Vuitton. Tesla. Amazon. The businesses behind the richest people in the world need no introduction. But last year, a name that does not command the same global recognition joined this rarefied list.

The new entrant was the Adani Group, an Indian conglomerate that controls ports, coal mines, food businesses, airports and more. The group’s astronomical rise had given Gautam Adani, its politically connected founder, a fortune of nearly $120 billion, according to Bloomberg, putting him in the company of Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Mr. Adani’s time in that echelon did not last long. Even though he remains enormously wealthy, on paper Mr. Adani has lost more than a quarter of his wealth, or more than $36 billion, within days. And he is facing perhaps the biggest challenge of his career.

Last week, Hindenburg Research, a small investment firm in New York, accused Mr. Adani’s company of “brazen accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering.” The Adani Group has rejected the claims from Hindenburg, which stands to profit if the conglomerate’s shares fall.

On Tuesday Adani Enterprises, Mr. Adani’s flagship company, raised $2.5 billion by selling new shares to investors, a move in the works before Hindenburg’s report. The sale provided a brief respite from the bad news, and then shares of his companies resumed their descent the next day.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, Adani Enterprises reversed course and said it was scrapping the offering, citing “market volatility.” It said in a statement that it wanted to “protect the interest of its investing community” and would return the money.

Since the report, the Adani Group has shed tens of billions of dollars in market value in less than a week. And Mr. Adani’s reach — he runs one of the biggest conglomerates in India — could portend a wider fallout for a country that has been a global economic bright spot.

“He’s a risk to the Indian financial system,” said Tim Buckley, an analyst in Sydney, Australia, who has followed Mr. Adani’s business for more than a decade.

Here’s what you need to know about the Adani Group, its founder and Hindenburg Research.

The Adani Group reached new heights in recent years. Mr. Adani started a polymers import-export business in the 1980s and gradually expanded into infrastructure.

In the 1990s, he started building a port in Mundra, in his home state of Gujarat. He went on to add coal mines, power plants and airports to his portfolio. In the last decade, he secured one of his biggest international deals — the Carmichael project in Australia, one of the largest open-pit coal mining operations in the world.

Last year, the Adani Group bought a cement business in India from Holcim, a multinational construction company based in Switzerland. In another sign of the diversification of his business, Mr. Adani took control of NDTV, an independent news outlet.

The Adani conglomerate’s success in some ways paralleled the growing Indian economy, which is now the fifth largest in the world. Mr. Adani, 60, has styled himself as an industrialist who is helping to address his country’s lack of infrastructure.

Critics say Mr. Adani’s political connections set him apart.The Adani Group would not be where it is, its detractors say, without its founder’s proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has helped the company win lucrative contracts or, in some cases, have bidding rules changed altogether.

Mr. Modi, like Mr. Adani, is from Gujarat, and when Mr. Modi became prime minister in 2014, he flew to New Delhi on an Adani plane. Mr. Adani’s relationship with Mr. Modi has created a widespread perception in India that Mr. Adani can strike any deal he wants, creating an uneven playing field.

Mr. Adani has rejected claims of preferential treatment. The foundations of his business, he said in a recent interview, were laid in the 1980s, when the Indian government relaxed trade restrictions.

“My professional success is not because of any individual leader but because of the policy and institutional reforms initiated by several leaders and governments over a long period of more than three decades,” Mr. Adani told the magazine India Today.

Mr. Adani faced controversy before Hindenburg’s allegations.
The billionaire has generally kept a low profile even as he has become one of the richest men in the world. He is a follower of the Jain religion, which emphasizes asceticism, and he and his family tightly control his conglomerate. (Hindenburg has criticized the ownership structure of his company.)

Months before Hindenburg made its allegations, the dizzying rise of an Adani subsidiary’s shares drew scrutiny. Much of the trading activity in the subsidiary, Adani Enterprises, was traced to holding companies based in tax havens, leading to speculation that the stock — which had helped propel Mr. Adani’s personal wealth — was being manipulated. Shares in Adani’s seven subsidiaries have soared more than 800 percent in the past three years, according to Hindenburg.

Previously, Mr. Adani’s company faced investigations into allegations of tax impropriety related to coal imports but was eventually cleared. Mr. Adani was also linked to an Indian stock market manipulation scam engineered by a Mumbai stockbroker, Ketan Parekh.

As Mr. Adani’s business empire has grown, he has turned to foreign banks to fund his acquisitions and investments. That, said Mr. Buckley, the Australian analyst, could mean more scrutiny.

“The big issue is that Adani has spent the last four years in raising debt on Wall Street,” Mr. Buckley said. “If you raise money in America, you have to play by America’s rules.”

Hindenburg has a good track record.Named after the famous doomed airship, Hindenburg is what is known as an activist short seller on Wall Street. The firm hunts for frauds and other irregularities in public markets, exposes the wrongdoing and makes money while doing so. It profits when its target, often a publicly traded company, sees a drop in its share price. (ELMAT: Brace for a film... This is blockbuster material)

Activist short sellers have been criticized by some for betting against businesses. The shorts say they are helping police the market.

Hindenburg, which is only a few years old, has targeted about 30 companies and made its name by taking down Nikola, the electric vehicle maker. According to Bloomberg News, stocks in those companies fell about 15 percent, on average, the day after Hindenburg issued its reports, and were down 26 percent six months later.

In the Adani Group, Hindenburg’s founder, Nathan Anderson, has taken on a goliath. Hindenburg said it had researched Mr. Adani’s businesses for two years before publishing its report on Jan. 24. The Adani Group has threatened to sue Hindenburg, which responded by saying it would welcome a suit in the United States, where it could demand Adani documents as part of legal discovery.

Among Hindenburg’s allegations are that offshore shell companies run by Mr. Adani’s older brother, Vinod Adani, helped the conglomerate manipulate its share prices.

The shell companies are also used to launder money from private Adani companies to the publicly listed ones, (ELMAT: Looks like Angoan Isabel dos Santos!) Hindenburg said, “to maintain the appearance of financial health and solvency.”

Highlighting what it called “obvious accounting irregularities and sketchy dealings,” Hindenburg said the fact that the listed Adani companies did not have long-serving chief financial officers was a red flag.

The short seller also called into question the quality of the independent auditor for two subsidiaries, Adani Enterprises and Adani Gas. Employees of the auditor were “essentially fresh out of school, hardly in a position to scrutinize and hold to account the financials of some of the largest companies in the country.”

Hindenburg went on to say that even if its allegations were ignored, the Adani Group companies were so overvalued that their stocks could fall 85 percent. The group, Hindenburg added, is also overburdened by debt.

The Adani Group has called Hindenburg’s allegations an attack on India and its “growth story and ambition.” Hindenburg has countered by saying, “India’s future is being held back by the Adani Group, which has draped itself in the Indian flag while systematically looting the nation.”

The fight could have geopolitical implications, given the United States’ courting of India as a counterweight to China, as part of a grouping called the Quad that also includes Japan and Australia, Mr. Buckley said. It is unclear how the conflict will be resolved, but one thing is certain, he said: “It is going to be very complicated.”

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