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Jo Johnson resigns as director of firm linked to Adani allegations

<span>Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP</span>
Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP

Jo Johnson, the younger brother of the former prime minister Boris Johnson, has resigned as a director of a London-based investment bank allegedly linked to the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s crisis-ridden business empire.

Lord Johnson, a former Conservative minister who was given a peerage by his brother in 2020, resigned from the board of Elara Capital on Wednesday just days after Elara was accused of using Mauritius-based funds to manipulate the share price of Adani-linked companies and obscure their ultimate ownership.

Johnson, a former investment banker at Deutsche Bank and journalist for the Financial Times, joined Elara Capital in June, “in the hope of making a contribution to UK-India trade and investment ties”.

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On Thursday he said he had “consistently received assurances from Elara Capital that it is compliant with its legal obligations and in good standing with regulatory bodies”.

“At the same time, I now recognise that this is a role that requires greater domain expertise in specialised areas of financial regulation than I anticipated and, accordingly, I have resigned from the board,” he said in an emailed statement.

Elara has been accused by short-seller investment firm Hindenburg Research of helping Adani Group companies in an alleged share price manipulation and accounting fraud.

Elara did not respond to a request for comment. Adani Group has denied the allegations, which it described as a “malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale, baseless and discredited allegations”.

The company has published a 413-page response to the allegations raised by Hindenburg.

Before the accusations published last week on Twitter, Adani, 60, was the world’s third-richest person, with an estimated $119.5bn (£97bn) fortune. He has fallen to 11th place in the daily updated Bloomberg billionaires' index after a personal wealth wipeout of $34bn in just four days of trading since the accusations were published.

Earlier on Thursday, Adani Group abandoned a $2.4bn share sale as its shares continued to fall. The collapse in the price of Adani’s quoted companies has exceeded more than US$100bn.

Breaking his silence on the crisis, Gautam Adani released a video to investors in which he said it would “not be morally correct” to pursue the share sale.

It is the second time Johnson has quit a position at a financial firm in recent months. In December he resigned from a role advising Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.