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Nirav Modi’s 4 Swiss Bank accounts frozen at India’s request, say ED sources

Nirav Modi’s 4 Swiss Bank accounts frozen at India’s request, say ED sources.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2019 13:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
09 August 2016, Mumbai : Nirav Modi Indian jewellery designer at his office in Lower Parel, in Mumbai . Photo By Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
09 August 2016, Mumbai : Nirav Modi Indian jewellery designer at his office in Lower Parel, in Mumbai . Photo By Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)
         

Swiss authorities have issued orders to freeze four bank accounts linked to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, a move that adds to the celebrity designer’s troubles who is already in a London jail pending a decision on India’s extradition request.

“His four Swiss bank accounts with deposit worth Rs 286 crore have been frozen,” a source familiar with the development in Enforcement Directorate said. The ED has already seized Nirav Modi’s assets worth around Rs 2,000 crore in India and abroad.

The ED is among the central agencies that started investigating Nirav Modi after state-run Punjab National Bank first accused companies owned by the fugitive businessman and his uncle Mehul Choksi of a $ 2 billion loan fraud in January last year.

Both of them have denied the charges. Mehul Choksi who owns Gitanjali Gems had picked up citizenship of the Caribbean twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda before the PNB filed its complaint.

Nirav Modi emerged in UK last year and has been in jail for 100 days. His four bail applications have been rejected, the last one by the high court of England and Wales. The judge had concluded there was compelling evidence of manipulation and attempt to destroy evidence.

The court wasn’t convinced by the argument presented by Nirav Modi’s lawyer that he did not have any reason to flee UK. “It seems he has the means to access funds. It is difficult for me to see why the UK should be a safe haven for him to escape extradition,” the judge said, adding that there were places in the world where one can move to in order to avoid extradition.

The judge specifically mentioned the raising of security deposit offered for bail from 50,000 pounds in the first application to 2 million pounds in the third application before the magistrates court, an example of Nirav Modi having the means to access funds.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 12:26 IST

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