NMC Health founder BR Shetty was stopped from flying to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on November 14 at Bengaluru airport. Shetty said in a statement that he had planned to return to the UAE and denied reports he had fled the country after the hospital group’s implosion under a mountain of previously undisclosed debt.
The immigration officials allowed Shetty’s wife to fly to Abu Dhabi. "Shetty was told that we have some kind of intimation that you cannot travel at this point in time,” Reuters reported citing a source.
Who is BR Shetty?
BR Shetty is the founder of New Medical Centre Health (NMC), a healthcare chain and distribution business in the United Arab Emirates. Founded in 1974, the firm soon emerged as the largest private healthcare provider in the UAE.
In 1980, Shetty established the UAE Exchange, to help expats in the process of sending money to their home countries. With branches across 31 countries, UAE Exchange helped Shetty in expanding his empire and made him a known face among the large expat population of the Middle East.
He also founded the NMC Neopharma, a UAE-based pharmaceutical manufacturer in 2003.
Shetty's downfall began after doubts emerged about NMC’s debt position. The company went into administration in April following the discovery that it had $6.6 billion in debt, well above earlier estimates.
Shetty is also facing a legal challenge in India as Bank of Baroda is suing him for backing away from an agreement to give the bank 16 properties as collateral for debts and to secure additional guarantees.
Shetty termed the agreement a “fraudulent document”, according to a statement of objection filed in a court.
A consortium of Indian banks reportedly requested travel restrictions on him to pursue the process of repayment. Additionally, an Indian court had prohibited Shetty and his wife Dr Chandrakumari from selling properties guaranteed against the loans, as per a New Indian Express report.
Shetty returned to India in March to visit his ailing brother, who passed away in March. He assured people in Dubai that he would return to the UAE, where Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank filed a criminal complaint against NMC Health.