DUBAI (Reuters) – The central bank has asked UAE lenders to freeze the accounts of NMC Health shareholder BR Shetty and his family, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
NMC NMC.L, which was founded by Shetty in the mid-1970s and has become the UAE’s largest private healthcare provider, was placed under administration this month.
Its shares, which NMC plans to delist in London, have been suspended after falling by more than half since December, when short seller Muddy Waters questioned its financial reports.
The UAE’s freeze directive, which was issued by the central bank last week, extends to two other NMC shareholders, Khalifa al-Muhairi and Saeed Mohamed Butti Mohamed al-Qebaisi, the sources told Reuters , who had seen the order.
The directive also calls for the freezing of the bank accounts of several former leaders, including ex-CEO Prasanth Manghat and his family, two sources said.
“Our companies operate in areas such as food safety and supply, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical waste management and industrial catering services, and therefore are essential cogs in the economy,” said Reuters a spokesperson for Shetty and his holding company BRS Ventures.
“Such orders would put these companies, their employees and their ability to operate and meet an ongoing supply at serious risk, and especially at such a critical time given the current public health problem,” the spokesperson added. .
The UAE’s central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. Mangat, who has left the United Arab Emirates, did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters. A spokesperson for Muhairi and Qebaisi made no immediate comment.
In recent months, NMC has revised its debt to $ 6.6 billion, well above previous estimates of $ 2.1 billion in June of last year, after doubts emerged over the size. of Shetty’s stake and that of the other shareholders.
Finablr, in which Shetty has a majority stake, said last month it was bracing for possible insolvency, while its UAE unit’s operations were seized by the central bank.
Shetty resigned as NMC’s non-executive chairman and board member in February and said he was conducting his own investigations.
Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Alexander Smith and Carmel Crimmins