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George Soros, Billionaire Modi Critic and Global Investor Who Keeps Hogging Headlines in India

George Soros, the ‘supporter’ Of OCCRP that accused Adani Group Of Stock Manipulation, has made headlines in India on numerous occasions, including for criticising PM Narendra Modi and his government.

George Soros, 92, the American-Hungarian bllionnaire investor, is once again in the eye of a storm brewing in India. Fresh allegations about stock manipulation and tax haven misuse by Adani Group, surfaced Thursday and they were made by an organisation supported by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Adani Group refuted all these charges calling it “another concerted bid by Soros-funded interests supported by a section of the foreign media to revive the meritless Hindenburg report”.

Soros has made headlines in India on numerous occasions, including for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. But who is this activist-billionaire known for spending billions of dollars to promote democratic movements in several countries and even allegedly manipulating outcomes? 

Who Is George Soros?

Born in Hungary in 1930, George Soros endured the Nazi occupation and his Jewish family survived by adopting false identities. As the Communists consolidated power in Hungary after the war, Soros left Budapest in 1947 for London, working part-time as a railway porter and as a night-club waiter to support his studies at the London School of Economics, according to Open Society Foundations, the Soros-funded group that says it “promotes democracy, transparency and freedom of speech”.

In 1956, he emigrated to the US, entering the world of finance and investments, and made his fortune. In 1970, he launched his own hedge fund, Soros Fund Management, and went on to become a successful investor. Using his wealth, Soros established the Open Society Foundations, a global network spanning over 100 countries. This initiative is inspired by philosopher Karl Popper’s ideas, says the OSF website. 

He facilitated the exchange of ideas in Communist Hungary, founded the Central European University, and backed causes worldwide, supporting accountable, transparent, and democratic societies. His advocacy encompassed various areas, from criticising the war on drugs to endorsing same-sex marriage. In 2017, he donated $18 billion, summing up his contributions since 1984 to over $32 billion.

‘Broke The Bank Of England’

Interestingly, Soros is also known as “the man who broke the Bank of England”. He was involved in a short sale of $10 billion worth of pounds. He made over $2 billion profit during the Black Wednesday UK currency crisis in 1992. A 1995 article in The New Yorker details how it happened.

In September 1992, a significant speculator attack on the British pound occurred, forcing the UK government to devalue the currency after spending about $6 billion on its defence. Hedge funds, commercial banks, investment banks, pension funds, and others bet against the pound, profiting from its devaluation. Although Soros was initially quiet, he eventually revealed that his fund, Quantum, and related offshoots had wagered around $10 billion against the pound, yielding a profit of about $2 billion.

In 1996, Soros was suspected of trading billions of Finnish markkas in anticipation of short-selling them. In 1997, during the Asian financial crisis, Malaysia’s Prime Minister accused Soros of using his influence to punish ASEAN for admitting Myanmar. 

Over the years, many Central Asian, Latin American, and Southeast Asian countries have alleged the involvement of Soros and his investment in the financial crisis and ‘pro-democratic’ movements.

Notably, George Soros earlier in June transferred his $25 billion financial and charitable empire to his son, Alexander Soros. Alexander, also known as Alex, is the second youngest among his siblings and is a member of the investment committee for Soros Fund Management, which oversees the $25 billion charitable foundation and family assets, as per the Wall Street Journal.

Soros’s Criticism Of PM Modi

After the Hindenburg report on the Adani Group came out earlier this year, Soros said it would “significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government and open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms”.

“Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament,” Soros said at the Munich Security Conference in February.

“I may be naive, but I expect a democratic revival in India,” he was quoted as saying.

This was not the first time Soros talked about the Modi government. In 2020, Soros slammed the Modi government while addressing an event at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. 

“The biggest and most frightening setback occurred in India where a democratically elected Narendra Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship,” he had said.

Later, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar lambasted Soros for his remarks on PM Modi. Jaishankar called Soros “old, rich, opinionated, and dangerous”, saying “such people actually invest resources in shaping narratives”.

Soros’s Global Investment In Media, Other Businesses 

As per reports over the years, Soros has invested in a number of media companies around the world. Most recently, his fund reportedly bid to acquire Vice Media. According to the Media Research Center, a US-based media watchdog, Soros has “sponsored more than 180 different media-related organisations”.

The Media Research Center said Soros has direct ties to more than 30 US mainstream news outlets — including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN, and ABC. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which has come out with the latest allegations against Adani, lists Open Society Foundations as one of its supporters.

“Since 1995, the Soros Economic Development Fund has invested in critical media companies to foster their growth and safeguard their editorial independence,” says Open Society Foundations on its website. It has granted Pluralis B.V., operating in Europe, an investment of $10.75 million in 2021. Another venture, the Emerging Media Opportunity Fund, secured $2 million in 2017 on a global scale. In 2016, the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) also obtained $1.9 million, with its operations spanning the globe. 

In India, Soros has purchased a 3 per cent stake in Reliance Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, for $100 million in February 2008, reported Mint. This was Soros’ second investment in the sector, the first being his acquisition of over 0.5 per cent in SunTV Network in December 2007. 

Additionally, Soros Fund Management has invested in many major companies including Alphabet, Amazon, Netflix, Walmart, and T-Mobile over the years, among others. Soros’ wealth management company has also invested in Indian firm Freshworks, the only Indian software-as-a-service (SaaS) unicorn to be listed on Nasdaq. Soros has also indirectly invested in other Indian companies and is plugged into the local startup ecosystem through SONG Investment Company, a $17 million early-stage fund backed by Soros Economic Development Fund, Omidyar Network, and Google, as per a Fortune report.

Source : Abp Live