Mukesh Ambani: India's richest man pays $77m to save brother from jail after helping put him out of business

'I and my family are grateful that we have moved beyond the past'

Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 19 March 2019 17:52 GMT
Mukesh Ambani
Mukesh Ambani (AFP/Getty Images)

Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, has paid $77m (£58m) to Ericsson, a Swedish multinational firm, to help his brother avoid prison.

Anil Ambani thanked his elder brother in a statement, for “standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support”.

The New Delhi Supreme Court found the younger businessman guilty of contempt in February, over his firm Reliance Communications’ failure to pay Ericsson $77m in owed fees.

Failure to pay would have left Anil Ambani facing a three-month jail term.

The younger businessman’s troubles are partly linked to his brother’s decision to launch Reliance Jio, a new mobile network, in 2016, according to CNN.

The new venture eventually forced multiple competitors out of India’s lucrative mobile market, including Reliance Communications, which once dominated the sector.

Anil Ambani, who was worth at least $31bn in 2008, now has a fortune of only $300m.

His brother, in contrast, is currently worth $54.3bn, according to Bloomberg.

After the death of the brothers’ father in 2002, the Ambanis battled for control over his Reliance business empire, eventually splitting it between them.

Their feud has been extensively covered in the Indian media ever since and Anil Ambani alluded to the old rivalry in his statement.

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“I and my family are grateful that we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply grateful and touched with this gesture,” he said.

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