Indias most wanted man Nirav Modi arrested in London after The Telegraph tracked him down – The Telegraph

India\s most wanted man Nirav Modi arrested in London after The Telegraph tracked him down - The Telegraph

Nirav Modi arrested in UK amid India fraud case allegations

Billionaire diamond tycoon Nirav Modi fled India last year after becoming a suspect in the biggest banking fraud in the countrys history.

Modi, 48, a diamond jeweller whose designs have been worn by Hollywood stars, went on the run after being accused of defrauding £1.5 billion from a state-run bank.

Nirav Modi: Fugitive Indian billionaire jeweller arrested in London

An Interpol red notice was issued on the request of the Indian authorities in July for Modis arrest but he continued to remain at large.

But at the beginning of the month, The Telegraph tracked the jeweller down to a three-bedroom flat occupying half of a floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block, with views across London. The rent for a property like this is understood to be about £17,000 a month. 

Scotland Yard confirmed he was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in the Holborn area on Tuesday afternoon, and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The Home Office told The Telegraph: "We can confirm that Nirav Modi was arrested on Tuesday 19 March in relation to an extradition request from India.

"Mr Modi will be taken to Westminster Magistrates Court today where he will face an extradition hearing. While the case is before the Court it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Indias authorities have frozen his businesses bank accounts while a string of boutiques – including a flagship store in Old Bond Street – have been shut down.

Yet The Telegraph disclosed that Modi was now involved in a new diamond business run from an office in Soho, just a few hundred yards from his new apartment.

The business, which was incorporated last May, is linked to his flat in Centre Point although he is not listed as a director at Companies House.

Modi, who has grown a handlebar moustache since becoming a fugitive, was known to take a daily walk from his flat to his new office with his dog.

When The Telegraph spoke to him, he was wearing a jacket made from Ostrich hide, costing at least £10,000.

The Telegraph has also learnt from a well-placed Government source that Modi was given a National Insurance number in recent months by the Department for Work & Pensions and has been able to operate online bank accounts in the UK while wanted by Indian authorities.

He has also been in contact with a wealth management company based in west London, which specialises in advice to rich foreigners.

The ability of Modi to continue living  a privileged lifestyle in London will raise serious questions potentially threatening a rift between the UK and India.

It is not clear why the British Government has given him a National Insurance number and yet has apparently failed to act on the Interpol red notice.   

It is not an international arrest warrant and Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a Red Notice. One possibility put to the Home Office by The Telegraph is that Modi may have applied for asylum in the UK.  The Home Office said it does not comment on individual cases.

When approached by The Telegraph after leaving his new offices, Modi repeatedly answered no comment to a series of questions put to him by the newspaper.

An employee at the diamond company told The Telegraph: There is very little we can say. We are prohibited by an NDA [non disclosure agreement].

The employee was then summoned away and came back, replying: No comment to every question put to her.

The Home Office has declined to comment on the case while courts have no record of any extradition case being opened against Modi.

The Interpol Red Notice – a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition – names Nirav Deepak Modi as wanted by the judicial authorities of India. It includes a photograph and his date of birth. The red notice lists a string of charges that includes criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, corruption, and money laundering.

Modi could be seen this week on the phone at the window of his new offices. The business describes itself on Companies House as a wholesale trader in watches and jewellery and a retailer of watches and jewellery in specialised stores.

It is alleged that Modi and his associates, acting in connivance with junior bank officials, had fraudulently acquired Punjab National Bank guarantees without approval, that they later used to obtain loans from overseas branches of Indian banks. 

At the peak of his wealth, Forbes estimated that Modi was worth £1.3 billion. But a string of assets have been seized by Indian authorities including at least one Rolls Royce and a Porsche, as well as jewellery, paintings and watches.

Properties in India – including a seaside bungalow which was demolished this month because it didnt have proper planning permission – as well as apartments in New York and London, worth £30 million have also been seized by Indias Enforcement Directorate. It is alleged that stolen money was used to buy the London flat.

Read more: The rise and fall of Nirav Modi: how the celebrated diamond jeweller became the biggest fraudster in Indian banking history

Fugitive billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi had been arrested in London on behalf of the Indian authorities, British police said on Wednesday.

India had asked Britain in August to extradite Modi, one of the main suspects charged in the $2bn loan fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), Indias biggest banking fraud.

Police said Modi, 48, had been arrested in the Holborn area of central London on Tuesday and was due to appear at Londons Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

PNB, Indias second-largest state-run bank, in 2018 said that two jewellery groups headed by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had defrauded it by raising credit from other Indian banks using illegal guarantees issued by rogue PNB staff.

Modi, a third-generation diamond trader who has dressed stars including actors Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson and Priyanka Chopra, was part of a CEOs meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Modi and Choksi, who have both denied wrongdoing, left India before the details of the fraud became public.

In December, a British court agreed that another high-profile Indian businessman, aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya, could be extradited to his homeland to face fraud charges. Mallya is currently appealing the decision.

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