Kerala floods: The man behind the UAE aid controversy
The past few days have seen considerable debate over the acceptance of a supposed Rs. 700cr aid package from UAE. Following CM Pinarayi Vijayan's announcement of the aid, the UAE clarified that no aid package, in fact, had been officially sanctioned. Clarifying, Vijayan had said his source of information had been Kerala-born billionaire Yusuff Ali. Here's all about him.
Ali had left India in 1973 to do business
First, it's important to note that Ali himself has yet to accept or deny Vijayan's claim. That said, Ali is a man of considerable wealth and power. Born in Thrissur in 1955, Ali went on to complete a diploma in business and management. Having completed his studies, Ali left India in 1973 to work in Abu Dhabi with his uncle, MK Abdullah.
Ali founded one of the Middle East's biggest retail players
Abdullah was the chairman and founder of the LuLu Group of companies. Under him, Ali developed the import and wholesale arm of the business, and then ventured into the supermarket business. In 2000, Ali founded the LuLu Hypermarket chain of retail stores, essentially transforming the retail business scene in Abu Dhabi. To this day, Lulu Hypermarket remains of the Middle East's leading retail players.
In 2015, Ali turned his eye to the hospitality business
Despite having considerable success, Ali wasn't the sort to stop. He went on to make the LuLu International Mall in Kochi, which was India's biggest mall in 2013. In 2015, Ali expanded into the hospitality business, and made history by signing a $170mn agreement with Galliard Homes to build a 5-star resort at the original Scotland Yard Police Station in London.
Ali is known for his philanthropic work as well
Currently, Ali is 388th on Forbes' billionaires list, and has a net worth of $3.8bn. Notably, he's also a Padma Shri winner and is known for his philanthropic work as well. He was one of the major contributors to aid given during the Gujarat earthquake, and is said to have made many other contributions. For Kerala, Ali donated Rs. 9.5cr in his personal capacity.