PNB case: ED attaches Rs 637 crore assets of Nirav Modi

PNB case: ED attaches Rs 637 crore assets of Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi

The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 637.16 crore in India and four other countries of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and his family, including three flats in London and the iconic Central Park in New York, in connection with its probe into the multi-crore PNB loan fraud.

The attachments took place in the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong besides India and it included flats, bank accounts as well as diamond-studded jewellery, kept in a vault of a private company in Hong Kong and brought back to India in 23 shipments.

The ED action came following the issuance of five provisional attachment orders with investigators saying that bringing back the proceeds of crime from a foreign jurisdiction is “perhaps unique” to the PNB case that runs into more than Rs 13,500 crore.

Officials said the ED has been working in close coordination with overseas agencies to identify and attach overseas assets of Modi kept at various locations internationally. “The international cooperation has borne fruit. This has also resulted in the recovery and return of jewellery from abroad,” an official statement said.

Among those attached are flats in New York valued at $29.99 million (Rs 216 crore), owned by Modi. The properties are in Central Park and were purchased in the name of The Ithaca Trust for $25 million and $4.99 million respectively.

One of the properties housed Central Park Real Estate LLC, which belonged to Firestar Group and was transferred to the trust earlier this year. The mortgage on this property from HSBC was paid by Firestar Diamond Inc.

The statement said the beneficiary of the trust is Modi’s wife Ami and her children while the settler is his sister Purvi. The second property was bought last year by the trust and the “ultimate source of the funds used to purchase” it was “stolen money from PNB”. This money was layered extensively involving multiple jurisdictions like Dubai, Bahamas, US and Singapore. Another property seized was in London where Purvi owned a Euro 6.25 million (Rs 56.97 crore) flat purchased in the name of Belvedere Holdings Group Ltd.

The property was bought by a trust where Purvi was the settler and beneficiary. A south Mumbai flat worth Rs 19.5 crore owned by Purvi was also among those attached.

The investigators also seized diamond-studded jewellery worth Rs 22.69 crore, which was kept in Hong Kong. After contacting the company and its London headquarters and “after much persuasion, follow-up and necessary documentation”, the ED brought the jewellery back to India.

“The stock value of this jewellery was declared at around Rs 85 crore and this jewellery was sent to Hong Kong by Firestar Group to Hong Kong. On independent valuation, the value of the jewellery comes out to 22.69 crore,” the ED said.

A bank account having $6.12 million (Rs 44 crore) belonging to an investment company owned by Purvi and Maiank Mehta was registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Five accounts having a balance of around Rs 278 crore have also been attached. These accounts belonged to Modi, Purvi and their companies and are maintained in overseas banks in a foreign jurisdiction.

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