Print
A rendering of the exterior of the Nirav Modi boutique in the Wynn Las Vegas, which is now closed along with the wanted diamantaire’s other U.S. stores. Modi has reportedly been located in the United Kingdom and Indian authorities are seeking to bring him home.
New York—Nirav Modi, the Indian jeweler wanted for allegedly cheating a state-run bank out of nearly $2 billion, has been located and Indian authorities are seeking his extradition, The New York Times reports.

The Times published a story Monday quoting a spokesman for India’s Central Bureau of Investigation as saying that Interpol told the CBI that Modi is in the U.K. The bureau is “moving for his extradition,” the spokesman said.

Interpol, the international police organization, has a red notice out on Modi, which is the alert used to signify that an individual needs to be located and arrested pending extradition.

Neither the CBI nor Interpol responded to National Jeweler’s request for an update by press time.

Born into a family of diamond merchants in Antwerp, Modi ventured out on his own, dealing in loose diamonds before expanding into manufacturing jewelry and then launching his own brand.

Eventually, he began opening upscale boutiques around the world stocked with dazzling pieces from his eponymous line, including on Madison Avenue in New York, the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu and the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas.

Modi’s designs also received plenty of red-carpet play. In what was perhaps his brand’s last splashy Hollywood appearance, “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Yvonne Strahovski donned Nirav Modi diamond earrings and ring at the SAG Awards on Jan. 21.

About a week after that red carpet turn, the 47-year-old diamantaire’s empire began to unravel.

On Jan. 29, the CBI registered a case against Modi, his brother Neeshal and his uncle, Gitanjali Gems Managing Director Mehul Choksi, accusing them of colluding with employees of Punjab National Bank to swindle the second-largest state-owned financial institution out of about $1.8 billion.

Both Nirav Modi and Choksi have denied any wrongdoing through their attorneys.

Since the case came to light in January, the CBI has been on the hunt for both Modi and Choksi, with reports placing the former everywhere from Hong Kong to St. Kitts to New York to London.
RELATED CONTENT: Nirav Modi Case Is ‘Another Nail in the Coffin’
The Times story detailed the frustration in India over fraudulent loans doled out by state-run banks and the government’s inability to bring wrongdoers accused of stealing billions to justice while indigent farmers commit suicide over their inability to pay back just a few hundred dollars.

Along with Modi, there’s Winsome Diamonds’ Jatin Mehta, whom the CBI reportedly charged with bank fraud in June but who remains out of reach on the island of St. Kitts. The Times also cited the case of Vijay Mallya, aka The King of Good Times, a former member of parliament and airline and liquor magnate who fled to Britain after allegedly cheating Indian banks out of more than $1 billion.

In the diamond industry, the alleged fraud perpetrated on Punjab National Bank put further strain on an industry already struggling with financing and forced four U.S.-based companies to file for bankruptcy: A. Jaffe—which has since been sold—Firestar Diamond, Fantasy Inc. and, most recently, Samuels Jewelers, the 120-store jewelry chain owned by Choksi that filed for Chapter 11 earlier this month.

|Subscribe >



Copyright © 2019 National Jeweler. All Rights Reserved.