Nirav Modi, a billionaire celebrity jeweler, whose creations adorns the necks and wrists of Hollywood stars necks and wrists of Hollywood stars, is allegedly behind one of the largest money laundering cases in India ever according to Indian investigators.
It has bene alleged that Modi is behind criminal allegations of amassing $1.8 billion in fraudulent transactions and deals with the second-largest state-run bank in India. The case is being investigated by federal investigating agencies in India. This jeweler was noted to be a symbol of corporate India’s growing international stature a symbol of corporate India’s growing international stature by business and entertainment titans.
In recent raids at a number of offices and offices and the showrooms in multiple locations in India that have the name of Modi, investigators seized gems and gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars
According to media reports in India, it is believed that Modi, his wife, a brother and an uncle have fled the country as Indian investigators have approached the Interpol to aid in locating Modi. The jeweler was last seen publicly at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with an Indian delegation of businessmen in late January.
The passports of Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi have been suspended by the Indian government.
“I can say with confidence that this gentleman is not in touch with any of our officials, and frankly at this stage we are not aware [of] his location,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters.
This scandal has created a blotch on the Indian government which has claimed cleaning up of corruption in the public sector and boost the state-run banks of the country. About 70 per cent of the banking industry in India is accounted for by the government banks but they are also struggling with bad loans that amount to over $100 billion. Most of the bad loans were given to corporations and infrastructure developers.
There have been criticisms for long about a nexus between corrupt bank officials and wealthy borrowers who do not want to pay back the loans after securing them. These criticisms found new ground following the Nirav Modi case.
It was last Wednesday that the Punjab National Bank reported to India’s national stock exchange that it had “detected some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions” which were initiated at one of its branches in Mumbai. Modi’s company was allowed to withdraw money following fake orders issued by a junior-level employee of the bank to other Indian banks’ branches overseas. The withdrawals in some cases were as much as $6 million at a time.
“For India’s second-largest bank to be defrauded in the manner suggested is astounding, especially since there has been heightened scrutiny of public sector banks’ operations in the last few years,” the Hindu newspaper wrote in an editorial.
Modi would escape with minimal punishment if history is to be believed, said Vishwas Utagi, former vice president of the All India Bank Employees Assn.
“His wife and brother are all foreign nationals who have different passports,” Utagi said. “For all the talk, his bad debts are as good as lost.”
“It certainly looks like a lot of really smart people fell for his spiel and backed him,” said Shobhaa De, an Indian author and columnist. “He had positioned himself impeccably and created a strong market presence.”
With a net worth of $1.7 billion, Modi was identified as one the richest men in India by Forbes. Actors like Kate Winslet, Viola Davis and Priyanka Chopra are among the celebrities who have adorned his jewelry creations and flaunted them on red carpets from Los Angeles to London.
(Adapted from LATimes.com)