The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said it has attached foreign assets worth approximately Rs 637 crore belonging to jeweller Nirav Modi and family members in connection with the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
These assets — including immovable properties, bank accounts and jewellery — are spread over the US, the UK and Hong Kong, sources said.
Of these, one property, worth Rs 19 crore, is in Mumbai.
On September 9, The Indian Express had reported that ED was planning to attach Nirav Modi’s and his family’s properties in the US. It had named the properties that were to be attached through letters rogatory sent to the US.
“For the past three months, we have been working in close coordination with overseas agencies in order to identify and attach overseas assets of Nirav Modi at various locations internationally,” an ED spokesperson said. “The international cooperation has borne fruit. The current action has also resulted in recovery and return of jewelleries from abroad.”
“Bringing back the proceeds of crime from a foreign jurisdiction is perhaps unique to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi cases,” the spokesperson said.
The ED claimed that it had seized diamond-studded jewellery worth Rs 85 crore (stock value) belonging to Nirav Modi’s company Firestar Diamonds in Hong Kong and brought them back to India in 23 shipments. However, their actual valuation by experts in India had turned to be only Rs 22.69 crore.
“During investigation, it was found that a stock of jewellery had been shipped abroad from India after registration of FIR by CBI. It had been kept in the vault of a private company in Hong Kong on behalf of Nirav Modi. ED contacted the subject company and its London headquarters and after much persuasion, follow-up and necessary documentation, ED successfully brought the jewellery back to India,” the spokesperson said.
The agency has attached two immovable properties belonging Nirav Modi in New York Central Park area, worth $29.99 million (approximately Rs 216 crore). The properties were bought in the name of The Ithaca Trust for $25 million and $ 4.99 million, sources said.
The ED spokesperson said: “One property, at Central Park South, was in the name of Central Park Real Estate LLC, a company of Firestar Group. It was transferred to the Trust in 2018. Mortgage taken on this property from HSBC Bank was paid by Firestar Diamond Inc. The beneficiary of The Ithaca Trust is Ami Modi (Nirav Modi’s wife) and her children, and the settler of the trust is Purvi Modi (his sister).”
“The other property was also purchased in the name of The Ithaca Trust in 2017…. Before paying the consideration for the property, the stolen fund was layered extensively involving multiple jurisdictions such as Dubai, the Bahamas, the US, Singapore, etc. The consideration was paid from a fiduciary account of Commonwealth Trust Company, Singapore, and the deal was carried out by a law firm based in the US.”
The property attached in London belongs to Purvi Modi, against whom the ED has already got an Interpol Red Notice issued. Valued at Rs 57 crore, the property — at 103, Marathon House, 200 Marylebone Road, London — was purchased in the name of “Belvedere Holdings Group Limited” for Euro 6.25 million in 2017.
Belvedere Holdings is managed by Trident Trust, Singapore, and has been established by Monte Cristo Trust. The latter has Purvi Modi as settler and beneficiary, the ED said.
The ED also said five bank accounts abroad with cumulative balance of Rs 278 crore has been attached. These accounts belong to Nirav Modi, Purvi Modi and companies controlled by them, the ED claimed.