PNB fraud: In December, Nirav Modi’s firm Firestar International was moving to go public, raise fundshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/pnb-fraud-in-december-nirav-modis-firm-firestar-international-was-moving-to-go-public-raise-funds-5065808/

PNB fraud: In December, Nirav Modi’s firm Firestar International was moving to go public, raise funds

PNB fraud: Nirav Modi’s companies are now under investigation for “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions worth over Rs 11,000 crore in collusion with some officials of state-owned lender, Punjab National Bank.

PNB fraud: In December, Nirav Modi's firm Firestar International was moving to go public, raise funds
The showroom of Nirav Modi in Fort Mumbai. The CBI received PNB’s complaint on Tuesday night against celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi. (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

As recently as December 2017, the board of Firestar International Ltd — Nirav Modi’s flagship enterprise — had received approval from its shareholders to convert the private firm into a public company to raise money for expansion and strengthen its financial position.

A copy of the board resolution of Firestar International Ltd accessed by The Indian Express shows that on December 8, 2017, the company in an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) sought approval from shareholders to change its name from Firestar International Pvt Ltd to Firestar International Ltd and alter its memorandum and articles of association.

The company, in an explanatory statement to shareholders, had said, “The Board of directors (the board) of the company intends to convert the company into a public limited company as the company is proposing to expand its business activities and is likely to seek additional funds from the public to strengthen the financial position of the company and to further develop its business.”

Modi’s companies are now under investigation for “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions worth over Rs 11,000 crore in collusion with some officials of state-owned lender, Punjab National Bank. READ | Who is Nirav Modi

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Before Firestar International’s board approved the move to go public, the company had already raised Rs 495 crore from three foreign investors through the private placement of 97.01 lakh equity shares of Firestar International, according to the minutes of the company’s EGM meeting.

Read | Inside the Punjab National Bank fraud: What an LoU is, how case may impact the bank

The three foreign investors are Islington International Holdings PTE Ltd, Singapore, Cyprus-based Progruss Investments Ltd and Alecust Global Holdings Ltd, Mauritius. The foreign investors could not be contacted for comment. According to the documents, Modi’s sister has a beneficial interest in Islington International Holdings.

PNB fraud: In December, Nirav Modi's firm Firestar International was moving to go public, raise funds
ED officers at a Nirav Modi showroom in New Delhi, Thursday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Firestar International reported a net profit after tax of Rs 582.08 crore for the financial year that ended March 31, 2017. Its sales and other income stood at Rs 14,706.04 crore. According to the private placement offer letter, Modi’s Firestar International is valued at Rs 6,413.89 crore. The company reported a debt of Rs 3,186.15 crore as on March 2017.

Read | Cong accuses Modi govt of letting businessmen escape with public money

The company has operations in the US, Europe, the Middle East and India among others. Modi’s diamond boutiques are located in New York, London, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Mumbai.

Modi is known for his high-value jewellery that cost as much as Rs 50 crore and regularly feature at auctions conducted by houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In 2010, Modi’s Golconda necklace sold for Rs 16.29 crore at a Christie’s auction.