Mehul Choksi bribed Antigua officials for protection: Report

Published on Jan 13, 2023 09:21 AM IST

Kenneth Rijock, a renowned financial crimes investigator made shocking revelations in a news article on Blogger against Mehul Choksi's bribery and conspiracy in Antigua.

Mehul Choksi is currently residing in Antigua and Barbuda (File Photo)
Mehul Choksi is currently residing in Antigua and Barbuda (File Photo)
ANI | | Posted by Lingamgunta Nirmitha Rao

One of India's most wanted fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi has been buying protection in Antigua by bribing a string of officials according to investigations conducted by Kenneth Rijock, a renowned financial crimes investigator.

Rijock made shocking revelations in a news article on Blogger against Mehul Choksi's bribery and conspiracy in Antigua, where officials are interfering with Interpol's efforts to detain him for extradition to India.

Also Read | CBI files 3 fresh cases against fugitive Mehul Choksi

He said that Choksi has been scheming to illegally extend the court process in Antigua, by paying bribes to government officials, including senior Antigua police official, Adonis Henry.

Multiple witnesses report that Choksi and Inspector Henry have been meeting at least three times a day at Al Porto, a Jolly Harbor restaurant reportedly owned by Choksi, wrote Rijock in his financial crime blog.

Choksi not only reached out to Henry but also tried to influence Antigua magistrate Conliffe Clarke through illegal payments.

Choksi has corruptly influenced Clarke, through illegal payments, made purely for dilatory purposes, to indefinitely delay his pending extradition, wrote Rijock in his blog post.

Also Read | Suniel Shetty reacts to Mehul Choksi alleging his film File No 323 defames him: ‘It’s funny...'

Rijock said that his sources confirmed that Clarke and Henry conspired together to interfere with Interpol's efforts to detain him for extradition to face the music in India.

Rijock's article, supported by various facts, describes how the diamond merchant failed to flee from Antigua to Cuba and then fabricated a kidnapping scenario.

Choksi intended to flee from Antigua to Cuba to avoid extradition since Cuba and India do not have an extradition treaty. The Indian fugitive was dumped off on the coast of Dominica in May 2021, after he refused to pay the agreed-upon payment to the smugglers' crew of the ship transporting him to Cuba, according to the investigator.

Although an Antiguan court ordered Choksi extradited to his native India, where he allegedly stole the equivalent of millions of dollars, corrupt government officials, judges and law enforcement agents in Antigua have successfully delayed the proceeding, but only after the illicit receipt of substantial bribes.

Choksi, a billionaire due to fraudulent consumer business practices, and major bank fraud, has avoided Indian justice for several years, after he obtained a Citizenship by Investment (CIP/CBI) passport in Antigua, notwithstanding an outstanding Interpol Red Notice seeking his arrest.

Interpol has issued a Red notice against the fugitive who had been involved in the Punjab National Bank Scam in India before fleeing the country in 2018.

A Red Notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. It is issued by the General Secretariat at the request of a member country or an international tribunal based on a valid national arrest warrant and it is not an international arrest warrant.

PNB has alleged that two of its employees had "fraudulently" issued LoUs and transmitted SWIFT instructions to the overseas branches of Indian Banks. This was done to raise the buyer's credit for the firm of a diamond merchant without making entries in the bank system.

The bank has alleged that one such fraudulent letter of undertaking (LoU) issuance took place on January 2018, the trail of which revealed the entire design.

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