India sues fugitive high-end jeweler arrested at Dominica Police London Nirav Modi Hollywood New Delhi
A wealthy jeweler wanted by Indian authorities for questioning in an alleged $ 1.8 billion fraud case in his native India remained under arrest in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica on Friday after a brief hearing.
Mehul Choksi is accused of entering Dominica illegally at the end of May after leaving the neighboring island of Antigua where he was living after fleeing India. The 62-year-old recently pleaded not guilty, although the case is ongoing and he faces another hearing scheduled for Monday.
His lawyers did not return requests for comment.
Indian federal investigators have been trying to extradite Choksi and his business partner, Nirav Modi since they fled the country in 2018 and are questioning them about an alleged $ 1.8 billion scam at a major state bank.
Modi, who ran an international jewelry empire stretching from India to New York, with a series of high-end brands, faces extradition proceedings in London Modi, whose jewelry once adorned stars of Bollywood in Hollywood, has been held without bail in London since he was arrested there in 2019. The pair reportedly fled India in January 2018 before the alleged scam was discovered.
Indian bank officials say the scam appears to have started in 2011 and occurred at a Mumbai branch of the huge state-run Punjab National Bank. The official complaint about the $ 43 million fraud says the two worked with two bank employees to obtain bogus “letters of understanding.” Bank officials say the letters were sent to overseas offices of Indian banks, which made the actual loans. Numerous Indian news articles say the $ 43 million is only part of the $ 1.8 billion fraud.
Choksi’s company, Gitanjali gems in India, said Choksi was unrelated to many of the companies listed in the $ 43 million complaint. In a statement, Gitanjali said Choksi “was falsely involved in the first place”.
Indian police raided the homes and offices of Modi and Choksi in 2018 and seized nearly $ 800 million in jewelry and gold.
Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.