Rafale Row: Were Anil Ambani & Ravi Viswanathan Business Partners?

Amid questions being raised on industrialist Anil Ambani’s decision to produce a French film by Julie Gayet, former French President Francois Hollande’s partner, around the same time as the Rafale deal, there’s another businessman who is in the fray for facilitating this – Ravi Viswanathan.

According to Mediapart, Gayet’s film was funded through Viswanathan’s company – VisVires Capital.

Although Viswanathan maintained that his company was approached by the film's actor Kev Adams – as opposed to Reliance contacting them – this isn’t the first time Viswanathan’s company has tied up with Ambani.

Who Is Ravi Viswanathan?

A French national based out of Singapore, Viswanathan focuses on acquisition and exits and board level decision making for investee companies at VisVires Capital. As a partner at VisVires Capital, Viswanathan has been an investment banker mostly with large local businesses across Asia and Eastern Europe.

He was also a Joint Group CEO at Nexgen Financial Solutions/Natixis Corporate Solutions between 2000-2011.

Past Ventures With Anil Ambani

Business association between Viswanathan and Ambani goes back to 2014. According to Live Mint, Viswanathan acquired about 30 percent stake in Nashik Vintners, the parent company of Sula Vineyards, along with Ambani-owned Reliance Capital.

Speaking to Business Standard, Viswanathan said, “With Reliance we will together own about 30 percent of Sula. The exact split is not decided yet.”

The publication then reported that while Viswanathan bought 11 per cent stake, Reliance took over 19 per cent stake of the total 30 per cent. The deal was done through VisVires Indian Wineries Pvt Ltd, a company floated by VisVires Capital.

"“VisVires Indian Wineries is a new vehicle we have set up for this particular business. In the near future our stake in Grover Zampa will also be transferred to the same entity.”" - Ravi Viswanath to Business Standard

Live Mint further reported that Viswanathan already held a significant minority stake in Grover Zampa Vineyards along with Reliance Capital.

In March 2018, PTI reported that Reliance sold its 19.05 percent stake in Sula Vineyards for Rs 256 crore.

"Reliance Corporate Advisory Services Ltd has sold 30,06,833 equity shares held in an unlisted company namely Sula Vineyards Private Ltd (representing 19.05 percent of paid up equity share capital), for an aggregate consideration of Rs 256 crore," Reliance Capital had said in a filing to the BSE.

. Read more on News by The Quint.Rafale Scam Twist: Modi Govt Chose Ambani, Hollande ReaffirmsRafale Row: Were Anil Ambani & Ravi Viswanathan Business Partners? . Read more on News by The Quint.