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Fugitive Indian jewellery tycoon Nirav Modi is now based in London. Image credit: Paul Grover for The Telegraph
Fugitive Indian jewellery tycoon Nirav Modi is now based in London. Image credit: Paul Grover for The Telegraph

Embattled diamond dealer Nirav Modi ’found’ in London

Indian authorities are demanding answers after fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi surfaced in London earlier this month.

Modi – who made his fortune through jewellery design and retail, including his diamond company Firestar International – fled India more than a year ago after he and his business partners were accused of embezzlement.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation raided his properties in February 2018 after the Punjab National Bank alleged Modi and his partners conspired with bank officials to secure US$44 million in advances to pay overseas suppliers.

It was later alleged that the group fraudulently obtained loans of up to $2.8 billion, and that some of the crimes involved Modi’s three American jewellery companies which engaged in ‘round tripping’ – buying and selling loose diamonds in sham transactions with shell corporations in order to create a false cash flow.

Authorities froze Modi’s $1.1 billion in cash and assets – including jewellery – and an Indian court has issued warrants for his arrest. Interpol has since put out a ‘red notice’ for his detention, listing charges including criminal conspiracy and money laundering.

After leaving New Delhi, Modi was thought to be living in New York and Hong Kong and visited Switzerland and Cyprus before surfacing in London in January.

UK newspaper The Telegraph last week filmed him walking on the busy thoroughfare of Tottenham Court Road in Soho, where he has been affiliated with a new company listed as a diamond and watch wholesale trader and retailer.

The UK’s Home Office has refused to comment on the Modi case or whether it will address calls for his extradition back to India.

UPDATE: It was reported on Tuesday 19 March that London's Westminster Magistrates' Court has issued a warrant for Modi's arrest.

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Friday, 20 September, 2019 08:21pm
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