The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has unearthed new evidence in its probe against fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi that creditor firms in the United Arab Emirates which received money through fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) of Punjab National Bank were incorporated in British Virgin Islands and Modi’s siblings Neeshal Modi and Purvi Modi were the ultimate beneficial owners of these firms until 2012.
In its 122-page supplementary complaint filed on February 28 in a Mumbai court, the ED said that Tri Color Gems FZE, Diagems FZC, Pacific Diamonds FZE and Universal Fine Jewellery FZE, were incorporated by consulting firm Trident Trust Company, BVI. Between December 2011 and October 2012, these firms allegedly received $76.14 million from LoUs of PNB.
So far, the ED has established the money trail of $927 million of the $1015 million allegedly diverted by Modi using the LoUs of PNB.
The agency has also included Modi’s wife Ami Modi and his three companies in UK and Switzerland — Nirav Modi Ltd, Yanike Properties Ltd and Diamond Holdings S.A. — as accused in the Rs 6498-crore fraud.
The key findings of the agency, as per the complaint:
-Modi’s sister Purvi Modi transferred $26 million out of the $89 million received through LoUs by Fine Classic FZE, her Dubai-based “shadow entity” to Ami Modi for purchase of two properties in the United States.
-Pacific Diamonds FZE allegedly diverted at least $171 million to Modi’s father Deepak Modi and his firm Chang Jiang S.A. Sources said Pacific Diamonds also allegedly diverted at least $1.4 million of the LoU funds to two firms owned by Preeti Pradyotkumar Kothari, wife of fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi.
-Deepak Modi is an alleged beneficiary of two US companies which “routed $42.8 million to Bailey Banks & Biddle, USA, from Nirav Modi group dummy companies in Dubai and Hong Kong”.
According to the ED investigation, in 2017, Nirav Modi formalised a plan to bring back up to $50 million of the LoU funds to India through offshore firms Alecust Global Holdings Ltd, Mauritius, and Progruss Investment Ltd, Cyprus.
Phone calls and text messages to Nirav Modi’s lawyer Vijay Agarwal remained unanswered.