Adani boss Gautam Adani
Photo: Indranil Mukherjee / AFP
With a net worth of $97.6 billion, Gautam Adani is still the richest man in Asia.
His company builds coal-fired power plants and wind turbines, controls ports and mines.
And yet things have been crumbling in the great Adani empire since last Wednesday.
On Friday alone, Adani Enterprises shares lost almost 20 percent in value.
This added up the financial conglomerate's losses to more than 48 billion dollars - an incredible crash in a very short time.
Blame it on a report by Hindenburg Research.
The company with the catchy name specializes in short selling, so it bets on the stock market that overvalued companies will fall.
Hindenburg also holds such a "short" position on Adani, as became clear mid-week, for an explosive reason.
The Indian group of companies had "operated a brazen system of share manipulation and balance sheet fraud for decades," wrote the short sellers in a detailed report that they said had been in preparation for two years.
Stock market reacts nervously
Adani investors are used to controversy.
The company has often been criticized in the past, for example because it wanted to dredge parts of the Great Barrier Reef in order to transport Australian coal to India.
But the allegations by Hindenburg Research are new - and they touch the core of the company.
The report said key listed companies in the Adani group had "substantial debts" that left the conglomerate on "a precarious financial footing."
The "sky-high valuations" drove the share prices of seven listed Adani companies up to 85 percent above their actual value.
Billionaire US investor Bill Ackman called the Hindenburg report "very credible and extremely well researched."
The stock exchange reacted correspondingly nervously to the allegations from the USA.
Banks to which Adani has debts also fell significantly in value.
The Adani group has denied the allegations, calling the report a "malicious combination of selective misinformation and outdated, unsubstantiated and discredited claims" aimed at damaging the group's reputation.
With a net worth of $97.6 billion, billionaire Gautam Adani is still the seventh richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
It was third before the Hindenburg Report.