In first public appearance since one of the biggest ever wealth wipeouts, Asia’s richest man was relaxed, smiling and quiet on fraud allegations

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Gautam Adani, the Indian billionaire who has suffered one of the world’s biggest-ever declines in personal wealth, said he will plow on with investments in Israel, keeping quiet about the allegations of fraud by short-seller Hindenburg Research. 

Speaking during a ceremony at the Haifa Port in Israel — his first public event since the scathing report was made public on Jan. 24 — the businessman didn’t mention the allegations of market manipulation and accounting fraud, which have erased about $70 billion of market value from the shares of Adani Group companies. 

Looking relaxed and smiling, Adani instead focused on his expansion plans for Israel where an Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. joint venture last year won a tender to buy the port for about $1.2 billion. His appearance came just hours after his flagship firm successfully raised $2.5 billion from India’s largest follow-on equity sale equity sale.

“Today is the outcome of a lot of hard work put in over six years,” Adani said, appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sign a historic port book in front of media and officials. Haifa Port “comes with a significant amount of real estate. And I promise you that in the years to come we will transform the skyline we see around us.”

Netanyahu, meanwhile, called it “a joyous day for India, Israel and the Haifa Port,” and said the Indian businessman plans to increase his investment in Israel “in a big way.”

As well as being welcomed in Israel, Adani has also found support from institutions and existing shareholders including Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Co. ,which ensured that the closely watched equity sale was covered.

Adani, who has denied the short seller’s allegations and threatened legal action against Hindenburg, ended his brief speech with a quote from the famous Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai that said:

“A man doesn’t have time in his life to have time for everything. He doesn’t have seasons enough to have a season for every purpose.”

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