Businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment on Wednesday denied that it made any payment to actor-producer Julie Gayet, partner of former French President Francois Hollande. The company described as “baseless” the allegations that it had signed a pact to finance a film by Gayet days before India and France signed the Rafale agreement.
“Reliance Entertainment has not signed any agreement with Julie Gayet or her company, Rouge International...nor has any payment ever been made by Reliance Entertainment to either of them in relation to the film nOmber One [Tout la Haut],” a company spokesperson said, according to Mint.
The firm said it had participated in the movie project through one of its partners, a French financing company named Visvires Capital. “Reliance Entertainment has financed just 15% of the overall film budget, and paid only 1.48 million euros [Rs 12.62 crore],” the spokesperson said. “The balance cost of the film budget has been financed to the extent of another 15% by a leading French investment firm, NJJ Capital, and the balance through sale of television rights and presales of global territories to a number of parties, tax credits, etc.”
Reliance Entertainment added that the payment to Visvires Capital was made on December 5, 2017, just two weeks before the release of the movie, and six months after Hollande had left office.
The Opposition has accused the Narendra Modi-led government of granting the offset contract to Reliance Defence instead of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The movie deal has been seen as a quid pro quo to the granting of the contract. Last week, Hollande claimed that the Indian government had proposed Ambani’s Reliance Defence for the offset contract.
“It is deeply shocking that, to serve narrow political interests, baseless allegations have been made by deliberately distorting facts and falsely attempting to co-relate a normal business course payment of a relatively small amount of 1.48 million euros to the supply of 36 fighter jets from France to India valued at nearly 8 billion euros [Rs 68,000 crore],” Reliance Entertainment said.