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Indian court orders top industrialist to pay Ericsson $77M

FILE- In this Sept. 18, 2018 file photo, Chairman of Reliance Group Anil Ambani speaks during the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai, India. India's top court has held industrialist Anil Ambani and two of his directors guilty of contempt of court and ordered them to pay 5.5 billion rupees ($77.29) million owed to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File)

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday found Anil Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Communications, and two of his directors guilty of contempt of court and ordered them to pay 5.5 billion rupees ($77.29 million) owed to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson.

Justices R.F. Nariman and Vineet Saran said the three will be jailed for three months if they fail to pay 4.5 billion rupees of that amount within four weeks.

The judges said Ambani, who is also chairman of Reliance Group, and the two directors had violated the court’s earlier order to pay Ericsson.

The Press Trust of India news agency said Ambani’s attorney, Mukul Rohatgi, promised he would comply with the order. He said Ambani was in the process of raising money by selling one of his companies.

The court said statements given by Reliance Group’s top brass indicated the men had willfully not paid the amount to Ericsson despite the court order.

The Swedish company last year sought the court’s help in obtaining payment for managing and operating Reliance Communication’s network under a 2014 agreement.

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