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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Crackdown against Nirav Modi: 4 Swiss accounts frozen worth $6 million

Nirav Modi, who has remained in judicial custody, had automatic right to file application in higher court & didn't require permit to appeal.

London/New Delhi:  In a major crackdown against Nirav Modi by authorities in Switzerland have frozen four Swiss bank accounts belonging to the fugitive diamantaire and his sister Purvi Modi.

Four Swiss bank accounts of fugitive Nirav Modi and his sister Purvi Modi have been seized. Swiss authorities have seized these accounts on request of Enforcement Directorate.

According to a press release by the Enforcement Directorate, authorities of Switzerland have frozen the bank accounts under the PMLA Act.

The press release read, “The request was made on the ground that money in the bank accounts was deposited out of illegal siphoned off funds from Indian banks.”

Swiss authorities have frozen a total of the US $ 6 million present in Nirav Modi’s Swiss bank accounts along with the assets.

Meanwhile, Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi is set to appear via video link from prison for a routine remand hearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday.

The 48-year-old, who has been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest in March in connection with the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, will be appearing for the first time since his bail appeal was rejected by the UK High Court earlier this month, his fourth attempt at bail.

In her judgment handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Justice Ingrid Simler concluded there were substantial grounds to believe that Modi would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to abscond.

“The applicant has access to considerable financial resources, supported by an increased (bail bond security) offer of 2 million pounds, the judge noted.

The High Court judge stressed that while it was not for her to take a “definitive view” on the evidence, she had proceeded on the basis that the government of India has acted in good faith in what is undoubtedly a serious case and a sophisticated international conspiracy to defraud, together with money laundering.

Nirav Modi, who has remained in judicial custody since his arrest in March, had the automatic right to file an application in the higher court and did not require permission to appeal.

Meanwhile, the first case management hearing in his extradition case took place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 30 May, when Judge Emma Arbuthnot directed the Indian government to confirm which prison Modi is to be held in if he were to be extradited to India, setting a 14-day deadline for a confirmation of the prison plans in India.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing the Indian government, has until 11 July to present an opening position statement laying out the prima facie case against Modi, with the next case management hearing set for29 July when a timeline for extradition trial is expected to be laid out.

Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant on 19 March and has been in prison since. During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that Modi was the “principal beneficiary” of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.

Under UK law, Modi is expected to be produced before the court every four weeks, with another remand hearing expected before 29 July case management hearing currently fixed in the court’s calendar.

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