London: Fallen diamond tycoon Nirav Modi kicked off his fight to prevent his extradition to India on charges that he orchestrated the largest bank fraud in the country’s history.
On the second day of a week-long hearing in London, Modi’s lawyer sought to cast doubt on allegations that the jeweler fraudulently procured guarantees from the state-run Punjab National Bank that were later used to obtain loans abroad. In total, he’s accused of defrauding the lender of around $2 billion over a period of seven years.
Modi was once a billionaire jeweler to the stars — Kate Winslet wore a Modi bracelet and earrings to the Oscars — and operated boutiques around the world. But since his arrest in March last year, the 49-year-old has been repeatedly denied bail after judges feared he was a flight risk.
In addition Modi’s charged with threatening to have a witness killed if he testified against him, according to a charge sheet — something his lawyers have repeatedly called false.
Modi grew up in Antwerp, the son and grandson of diamond cutters, according to his website. Apart from India, he had boutiques in New York, London, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. He was arrested in March 2019 when he opened a bank account in central London and an employee alerted authorities.
Modi is represented by the same legal team as another former billionaire. Vijay Mallya, who’s lost a series of battles to prevent his own extradition from the U.K. to India. – Bloomberg