George Soros, the billionaire investor, philanthropist, and political activist, who many say has the power of changing governments and regimes, is now talking about India.
Soros urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to respond to questions regarding the turmoil surrounding Gautam Adani's business empire, which led to investors in India losing over 100 billion. In a speech ahead of the Munich Security Conference, Soros called PM Modi and Adani close allies, reported Bloomberg.
Who is George Soros?
A Hungary-born American investor, Soros is best known as the founder and chairman of Soros Fund Management, a highly successful investment fund. He is also known for his philanthropy and political activism.
Time and again, the billionaire has also been referred to as an 'agent of chaos'.
- He has donated billions of dollars to various causes through his Open Society Foundations, which focus on promoting democracy, human rights, and social justice around the world. He has a net worth of about $.8.5 billion.
- Soros has also been involved in a number of political controversies over the years, with some accusing him of using his wealth and influence to shape politics and promote his own interests. Despite this, Soros remains a highly respected and influential figure in the world of finance and philanthropy.
- "Money is all that has kept him out of jail," said an Investors Business Daily editorial from 2011, while talking about Soros's 2005 insider-trading conviction in France, which was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011.
'Democratic revival in India'
Soros said that the Adani crisis, which sparked a stock market selloff and shook investors' confidence in India, may open door to a democratic revival in the country.
- "Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament," Soros said. "This will significantly weaken Modi's stranglehold on India's federal government and open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms. I may be naive, but I expect a democratic revival in India," Bloomberg quoted Soros as saying.
'Modi not a democrat'
Soros also went on to say that said Modi "is no democrat". He said that "inciting violence against Muslims was an important factor in his meteoric rise". He also pointed out that India buys a lot of Russian oil at a steep discount and makes a lot of money on it.
- The 92-year-old said that Modi would have to answer allegations of fraud and stock manipulation at Adani's industrial empire.
Indian govt responds
A day after Soros' comments on India, PM Modi and Adani, Union Minister Smriti Irani called his remarks a 'declaration to destroy India's democratic processes'.
- Irani said Indians have defeated such foreign powers who tried to meddle with our internal affairs earlier and will do so again. "I urge every Indian to give a fitting reply to George Soros," she said.
- "It is evident from his statements that he has pronounced funding over one billion dollars particularly to target leaders like PM Modi is significant," the minister said in a press conference on Friday (February 17).
$1 billion to fight nationalism
Soros, in 2020 had pledged $1 billion to fund a new university network to tackle the spread of nationalism and had condemned leaders like Narendra Modi, Donald Trump, and Xi Jinping.
- During that speech, Soros had targetted PM Modi saying that "the leader is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship".
- The Open Society University Network (OSUN) is an international platform and universities all over the world can join it.
Agent of Chaos
- Soros was Hillary's single largest donor, who paid $30 million to her campaigns.
- The leaked emails also showed that OSF had pumped in millions of dollars into organisations supportive of Palestinian civil society organisations, reported The Independent in 2016.
- The 1992 bet against the Bank of England by George Soros's Quantum Fund was its most famous trade.
- In 1997, George Soros is speculated to have orchestrated the financial crisis of Thailand. Soros, says a Business Insider report, bet 'just under $1 billion of his total war chest of $12 billion against the [Thai currency] baht. There's plenty of speculation that because he placed such a large bet on baht, Soros helped engineer the Asian crisis via his political connections'.
- Soros himself remarked, "For instance, by selling the Thai baht short in January 1997, the Quantum Fund managed by my investment company sent a market signal that the baht may be overvalued. Had the authorities responded to the depletion of their reserves, the adjustment would have occurred sooner and been less painful. But the authorities allowed their reserves to run down; the break, when it came, was catastrophic."
- The Bank of Thailand eventually broke, leading to the devaluation of the Thai baht, and profits for Soros.
- In 2016, the OSF emails leaked by DCLeaks also showed how George Soros tried to 'oust Putin and destabilise Russia', reported Sputnik News.
- Soros has also been involved in supporting various pro-democracy movements, such as in Eastern Europe during the Cold War and more recently during the Arab Spring. While these movements were largely driven by local activists and organisations, Soros played a supportive role by providing funding and resources.