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The final arguments have been heard in Nirav Modi's extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court, and Judge Samuel Goozee is expected to hand down a decision on 25 February – approximately two years after Modi was first arrested in London.
The final arguments have been heard in Nirav Modi's extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court, and Judge Samuel Goozee is expected to hand down a decision on 25 February – approximately two years after Modi was first arrested in London.

Nirav Modi extradition trial to conclude this month

Nearly two years after his arrest in London, Nirav Modi – the diamond dealer alleged to have committed large-scale fraud against India’s Punjab National Bank (PNB) – is expected to learn the outcome of his extradition trial this month.

On the final day of the trial in January, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) laid out a case that included fraud, money laundering and preventing the course of justice as part of what was described as a “Ponzi-like scheme”. 

Helen Malcolm QC, Crown Prosecution Service
Helen Malcolm QC, Crown Prosecution Service
"While the defence claims this is a mere commercial dispute, there is a plethora of evidence to point to a Ponzi-like scheme"
Helen Malcolm QC, Crown Prosecution Service

Modi stands accused of committing large-scale fraud against PNB between 2011 and 2018. He is believed to have fled New Delhi in early 2018 before his arrest in London a year later, where he has remained in custody.

Helen Malcolm QC, barrister for CPS, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court, “The simple and stark fact is that he [Modi] used his three partnership companies to acquire billions of dollars’ worth of credit, which was entirely unsecured, and LoUs [Letters of Undertaking] were issued for wholly bogus trade.”

“While the defence claims this is a mere commercial dispute, there is a plethora of evidence to point to a Ponzi-like scheme where new LoUs were used to repay old ones.”

An LoU is a form of bank guarantee which allows an Indian bank’s customer to obtain a short-term loan from another Indian bank’s foreign branch, which the customer can then use to pay overseas suppliers in foreign currency.

Modi faces a raft of serious charges in India and if convicted, potentially faces life in prison. Justice Samuel Goozee is expected to hand down his decision on 25 February.

Meanwhile, in exchange for a pardon, Modi’s sister and her husband have agreed to testify against him.

According to multiple Indian media reports, Purvi and Maiank Mehta – a Belgian and British citizen, respectively – have told an Indian court that their lives came to a “standstill” due to their association with Modi and requested to be examined as witnesses in two cases of money laundering.

The couple claimed they were able to provide information critical to establishing facts against Modi and others involved in the PNB fraud.

The court allowed their applications for pardon on the condition that they provide full and true disclosures.

In 2019, India’s economic intelligence and law enforcement agency, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), alleged Purvi Mehta had knowingly received funds, via Modi’s fraudulent LoUs, while a director of companies based in Dubai, Hong Kong, and the British Virgin Islands.

At the time, she denied knowledge of the fraudulent transactions.

Another Modi sibling, Nehal Modi, is currently embroiled in an alleged diamond fraud case in New York. He was also implicated in the PNB fraud, though like Purvi Mehta he is a Belgian citizen and therefore cannot be extradited to India.

 

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More Reading:
Member of Modi family indicted over $3.4 million diamond 'fraud'
Nirav Modi extradition case edges forward
Nirav Modi's 'Ponzi scheme' extradition trial begins in London

 











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