An Indian billionaire jeweller wanted over an alleged £1.5 billion fraud has been arrested in London.
Nirav Deepak Modi, 48, was held by officers from the Metropolitan Police in Holborn, central London on Tuesday.
He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today as part of extradition proceedings by the Indian authorities.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Modi was arrested after its reporters tracked him down at a flat in central London’s Centre Point tower.
Nirav Modi, 48, is involved in a new diamond business in the capital – despite Indian police issuing an Interpol red notice for his arrest. He was arrested over an alleged billion-pound fraud last night
Earlier this month the paper revealed that Modi was living in a three-bedroom flat in the tower block, where rent is estimated to cost £17,000 a month.
Despite his bank accounts bring frozen by Indian authorities, and an Interpol red notice being issued for his arrest, Modi was involved in a new diamond business based in the capital.
A source told the Telegraph that he had been given a National Insurance number, meaning he can legally work here, and has used British bank accounts.
The jeweller is accused of taking part in the fraud on Punjab National Bank, believed to be one of the largest ever fraud cases in India.
The billionaire’s jewels are worn by top Hollywood stars including Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts, but he is accused of being behind a £1.5bn fraud.
He and diamond merchant business partner Mehul Choksi fled India after being accused of defrauding the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) out of the enormous sum.
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Nirav Modi, one of India’s richest men allegedly defrauded the state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) out of $1.8billion
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His luxury diamonds are worn by numerous top Hollywood stars (above Kate Winslet shows off her Nirav Modi pieces at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in 2016)
Naomi Watts is also a Nirav Modi fan (pictured with him at his Madison Avenue store opening in New York)
The Hollywood actress dazzled in the jewellery tycoon’s luxury diamonds
The pair’s passports were suspended by Indian authorities and the country’s financial crimes agency is investigating the allegations.
A money laundering case has been registered by the authorities against Modi, who owns powerhouse jewellery brand Firestar Diamond. The company’s website went offline.
Authorities searched Modi’s Mumbai offices within a day of PNB saying it had detected fraud of almost $1.8billion (£1.2billion) at a branch in the city.
Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss wears Nirav Modi as she walks the Oscars red carpet last year
The 47-year-old, the third generation of his family to go into the diamond trade, is worth $1.73billion according to Forbes, placing him 85th on India’s rich list.
He is the owner of 17 exclusive jewellery boutiques across the world, with branches in Asia, India, America and the UK.
Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Modi and Choksi’s passports had been suspended for four weeks and would be revoked if they did not provide a response.
‘If they fail to respond within the stipulated time it will be assumed that they have no response to offer and the MEA (foreign ministry) will go ahead with the revocation,’ Kumar said in a statement.
The billionaire jeweller’s designs are widely advertised in India (above Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra models his expensive designs on a billboard in New Delhi, India, this month)
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday carried out raids on more properties connected to the pair and said it had contacted Interpol to track down Modi.
‘We’ve reached out to Interpol with a request for a diffusion notice to track down Nirav Modi today,’ said CBI spokesman Abhishek Dayal.
Modi has not commented on the allegations. Firestar Diamond previously said the case was not connected to the company.
Interpol served a Red Notice as a request for the British government to find Modi and arrest him ahead of an extradition.
Red notices list both the fugitive’s name and identifying features, as well as the crimes they are wanted for.
Modi’s notice said that he is wanted by Indian police for ‘criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, corruption, and money laundering’.
Modi has always denied the claims and says he is innocent.
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