BR SHETTY .. The rise and fall of an NRI billionaire who started as medical representative in 1973

NEW DELHI: In a major shock to the empire built by NRI businessman BR Shetty, the United Arab Emirates on Monday freezed all the accounts of the billionaire and his firms as also of his family members, sending shivers down the spines of tens of thousands of major share holders as also the hands working in his establishments. Shetty runs, most prominently, the National Medical Centre –what was the UAE’s largest healthcare network – as also a prominent money exchange company.

Reports said the NMC had been put under UK court supervision a week ago. The company is listed on London Stock Exchange, and Shetty had in recent times engaged in some major acquisitions worth billions in the UK. This too might have proven to be his undoing. UK court froze the director board of the company and put administrators to handle NMC’s day-to-day works, pending final decisions by the court in relation to various financial mismanagement cases. The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank had filed a plea with the UK court for joint administration of the NMC.

Shetty with his wife… a file picture
NMC has nearly 200 healthcare facilities across 20 nations. It reportedly has a market value of $2.4 billion and a total debt of $6.6 billion. On Monday, the UAE Central Bank issued instructions to this effect to all banks in the UAE. The banks in UAE have a combined exposure of over dirham 8 billion to NMC, which also owes huge sums to banks in Muscat. Shetty is also facing serious financial crime charges in India.

The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank recently filed a criminal complaint of “fraud and forgery” against Shetty and five others in a UAE court. This, after ADCB came to know that NMC had taken huge loans from several financial institutions and kept its liabilities a secret while drawing funds from ADCB. Former company CEO Prasanth Maghat, Prasant Shenoy, Suresh Kumar, Saeed Mohamed Butti Mohd Al Qebaisi and Khaleefa Butti Omar Yousif Ahmad Al Muhairi are the others against whom cases have been filed by ADCB.

Bhagavatu Raghuram Shetty has built his business empire over the past many years after he arrived in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE in the early 1973  in search of a job. He came, as he stated later, with just Rs 500, equivalent to eight dollars, in his pocket. His aim then was simple: to make enough money to pay back the loans his family had back home for some purpose, in Mangalapuram, Karnataka. The Forbes magazine which listed the wealth of billionaires in 2018, put his total worth at $4billion.


Shetty, as a youth in India, had tried his hands at politics, contested the municipal polls and became the municipal vice chairman before stepping into a medical representative job. He worked as MR in the UAE for some time, and eventually set up his own company, the National Medical Centre.
It was in 2017 that he came forward to produce what he claimed the most-expensive cinema in India, and requisitioned some top south Indian stars for the purpose.

Shetty is currently in India. 


In a recent statement, Shetty had said: “Out of respect for due process and to allow the various investigations to quickly and independently undertake their mandates, I have refrained, to date, from making any extensive public statements.However, as I’ve said previously, I am carefully undertaking my own investigations of the information available to me, and I will make these findings known as soon as possible, and in the proper and appropriate manner. I am extremely eager and determined to bring to light the full facts, and the whole truth, around what has transpired to all stakeholders as quickly as possible. This is especially urgent in order to bring much needed support and reassurance to the thousands of dedicated doctors, nurses and healthcare workers of NMC Health, and in light of the current public health crisis.” –IHN-NN


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