Billionaire Ambani risks jail over missed Ericsson payments
Indian billionaire businessman Anil Ambani is facing a prison sentence after a deal between his cash-strapped firm Reliance Communications (RCom) and telecoms giant Ericsson collapsed.
Ericsson is owed 5.5bn rupees (£59.3m) by RCom under the terms of an agreement to manage and operate its network.
RCom failed to comply with India’s Supreme Court’s order to pay the money by 15 December last year.
Now the court says Mr Ambani will be jailed for three months unless he pays.
It found him guilty of contempt, giving him another four weeks to pay or else go to prison.
Both sides have said they respect the ruling.
Ericsson signed the deal in 2014 and began proceedings against RCom last year.
The court also found Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani breached the orders.
But all three can avoid punishment if the money is paid with interest, it said.
Separately, Reliance Industries, controlled by Anil’s brother Mukesh Ambani, is in talks with Saudi Aramco about possible investments for it in India.
Oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement in April with Indian refiners to join in a $44bn (£33.7bn) refinery project on the country’s west coast.
“We are looking at additional investment in India, so we are in discussions with other companies as well, including Reliance and others,” Saudi Aramco chief executive officer Amin Nassar said in a panel discussion in Delhi.