London, New York property of fugitive jeweller seized

NEW DELHI: Indian authorities on Monday said they have seized assets of fugitive billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi worth some $87 million, piling pressure on one of the main suspects in a $1.8-billion fraud at a major state-run bank.
The seized assets included overseas bank accounts and diamond studded jewellery to the tune of $3.1 million that has been brought back to India from Hong Kong in 23 shipments, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said.
The jewellery had been shipped out after Indian federal police registered a case of fraud against Modi in January.
“The international cooperation has borne fruit,” the ED said in a statement. “This has resulted in (the) seizure and provisional attachment of jewellery, bank accounts and immovable properties worth $87 million in India as well as four foreign jurisdictions.” The list of seized assets include a London property worth about $7.8 million and two others in New York valued at $29 million.
Modi, last seen in Britain, fled India in February after authorities accused him of defrauding the Punjab National Bank.
Modi and his uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi, also a diamond merchant, are accused of illegally diverting loans from the bank to foreign-based companies. Choksi is in Antigua.
Modi, 47, had luxury stores in several major cities and boasted celebrity customers including actresses Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet and Priyanka Chopra. — AFP