Meet the brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia. They are the billionaire brothers behind the Essar Global Fund (S-R, get it?), a $22 billion global conglomerate dealing in steel, energy and shipping, among other endeavors. Here is one of their underlings explaining to a British court their particular lifestyles the rich and famous, specifically with regard to their private 737 and 280-foot superyacht replete with “unusual features”:
“Entrepreneurs have access to funds to allow them to have these toys, where you or I might have a bicycle or a car,” said Bell, adding that he had never seen the ship and didn’t know about the jet.
As it happens, Shashi and Ravi don’t have access to these funds just because they are billionaires, but because Essar has borrowed billions of dollars for them to play with. This includes a $450 million loan to Essar’s now-bankrupt Minnesota steel business from, among others, Goldman Sachs and a Davidson Kempner Capital Management affiliate, of which only $278 million was paid back. This did not sit well with the hedge fund, which won a New York court order demanding the $172 million plus interest still unpaid, and which is now taking a page from both its co-creditor Goldman - and its co-hedge fund Elliott Associates - and doing something about it.
First, Davidson Kempner Capital Management turned up the heat in its legal dispute with one of India’s wealthiest families by seizing a private jet. Now, the New York hedge fund has set its sights on something else many billionaires can’t live without: a luxury yacht….
Essar Group Fund said in a statement that Midtown’s attempts to take control of the aircraft have not been successful and that its legal owner, a company called White Springs, has agreed to keep it in England until the dispute is resolved. The company said it isn’t aware of any attempt to seize the yacht and to do so would be “entirely unjustified.”