Trouble for Adani as Australian party seeks probe into $16 bn coal project

Melbourne: Australian Greens plans to move a notice of motion to the Senate, seeking a probe into the ownership structure of Indian mining giant Gautam Adani's $16 billion coal development project in Queensland state.

 Trouble for Adani as Australian party seeks probe into  bn coal project

Gautam Adani. Reuters

"Recent revelations in media have exposed Adani's lack of transparency surrounding the ownership of the Abbot Point coal terminal and Carmichael mine projects, as well as alleged tax avoidance," Australian Greens Senator Larissa Waters said.

"The Greens are calling for an urgent investigation. We're talking about the biggest coal mine and the biggest coal port that Australia has ever seen, which are set to export hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal through our Great Barrier Reef," she said in a statement.

"If the port goes ahead and environmental destruction occurs, as is extremely likely given it is being built in a World Heritage Area, who will the government hold to account for repairing the damage?

"It's reckless for the government to allow these enormous projects to proceed without even knowing who controls them."

A report recently published by Fairfax Media said, "it appears that Gautam Adani does not ultimately control many of the companies associated with his company's Australian coal developments. Instead his eldest brother Vinod Shantilal Adani holds pivotal positions."

The report said Vinod has been named in an Indian criminal investigation into the alleged siphoning of $1 billion from Indian shareholders in three Adani companies into offshore accounts.

It further noted that a complex web of companies that appear to be linked to Adani's coal developments in Australia was extended from the low tax regime of Singapore to the tax haven of the Cayman Islands.

An Adani spokesperson, however, had insisted there was nothing untoward about this arrangement.

"Ownership structures of the companies reflect the required level of ring-fencing and financial governance architecture required for a mine, rail and port project, and T1 (Abbot Point) port operations. The above is also layered to meet the various regulatory and funding regimes that apply to these assets," the spokesman had said.

Waters said that "for all the environment Minister Greg Hunt knows it could be Mickey Mouse who is building the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef."

"Hunt is failing to stop environmental vandals and shady operators from taking control of the most dangerous projects in our most precious places.

"It's clear that the world's largest coal port and the largest coal mine in the Southern Hemisphere should never have been approved given the direct impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s climate.

"The latest revelations about creative tax and financial arrangements and the environmental history of the players only serve to reinforce this. Hunt must revoke the Abbot Point approval to save our Great Barrier Reef," Waters added.


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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2015 13:33:16 IST