India’s fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi found in London living lavishly in plain sight
Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi is lavishly living in the open in London, despite being wanted back home for an alleged £2bn ($2.6bn) scam against India’s Punjab National Bank (PNB), the Telegraph has reported, after tracking down the elusive businessman.
“Modi was given a National Insurance number in recent months by the Department for Work & Pensions and has been able to operate online bank accounts in the UK while wanted by Indian authorities,” the publication reports, citing a well-placed source in the government.
If the allegations are true, the UK would effectively be harboring a man who has been placed on Interpol’s Red Notice list last July. India authorities in the past said that Modi was seen in the UK after fleeing the country last year, yet London failed to act on the world-wide police alert requesting a provisional arrest of the fugitive, pending extradition proceedings.
It appears that the celebrity jeweler tycoon had settled in well in the British capital, where he rents a three-bedroom flat in the landmark Centre Point tower block for about £17,000 ($22,000) a month. While slightly altering his appearance with a handlebar mustache, the man has been recorded strolling to and from his new business office in Soho, which specializes in the diamond trade.
“The business, which was incorporated last May, is linked to his flat in Centre Point although he is not listed as a director at Companies House,” the Telegraph reported, wondering how Modi's presence remained unnoticed by the British authorities. When the publication asked Modi outside his office whether he’d applied for political asylum to enjoy such liberties, the billionaire refused to comment. The Home Office also refused to provide details.
Modi denies allegations of being involved in a multi-billion loan fraud conspiracy, through which he allegedly used the state-run bank to obtain advances for paying his overseas suppliers. His legal team accuses the Punjab National Bank of a cover-up to avoid liability for the missing funds.
While the fugitive continues to enjoy his posh lifestyle in the UK, Indian authorities demolished the accused fraudster’s massive sea-facing villa in Maharashtra’s Alibaug on Friday.
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