Interpol on Monday issued a Red Notice (RN) against Purvi Modi, a Belgian national and absconding jeweller Nirav Modi’s sister, in connection with the Rs 13,600-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, officials said. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the case of money laundering against Nirav Modi and his family members, issued the RN against Purvi for allegedly playing “a major role in laundering the proceeds of crime generated from the PNB scam”. RN was earlier called Red Corner Notice or RCN.
Nirav is accused of siphoning off more than Rs 6,000 crore of PNB money through fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoU). Rs 4,000 crore of this money was allegedly laundered abroad.
“She (Purvi) is a beneficiary of the scam to the tune of at least US$133 million (Rs 963 crore). She is the owner or director of several shell companies, formed solely for the purpose of laundering the proceeds of the crime,” an ED official said.
These companies, as per the ED, include Fine Classic FZE (UAE), Lili Mountain Investment (BVI), Pristyn Holdings Ltd (BVI), Palmate Investment Limited (BVI), Novelar International Holdings Ltd (BVI), Islington International Holdings Pvt Ltd (Singapore), Belvedere Group Holdings Limited (Singapore) and Pavilion Point Corporation (BVI).
According to the ED, the companies were formed and managed in a very complex manner to camouflage “the criminal origins of funds in these companies”.
“Funds stolen from PNB, to the tune of more than Rs 500 crore, were invested in Firestar India (a Nirav Modi company) via FDI after layering through these companies. Immovable properties were also purchased in overseas jurisdictions in the name of entities controlled by her (Purvi),” a statement issued by the ED said.
Purvi, according to the ED, was also a beneficiary in several companies where LoUs issued by the PNB were credited. Later, however, her name was removed from the list of companies’ directors and dummy directors appointed.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, the ED’s prosecution complaint (chargesheet) alleged Nirav Modi diverted about US$ 629 million (Rs 4,299 crore at current rate) of US$ 1,015.34 million (Rs 6,939.84 crore) outstanding fraudulent LoUs issued by the PNB to him, his firms and his relatives, through 15 “dummy companies” in UAE and Hong Kong.
The ED probe also found that Nirav Modi diverted US$ 265 million (Rs 1,811 crore) to his group firms, Purvi and her husband Maiank Mehta through nine UAE-based dummy firms.
According to the ED complaint, US$ 30 million of the LoU funds was diverted to Mehta, who gifted the money to Purvi. She then used it to open a fixed deposit (FD) with Syndicate Bank, Mumbai. She took a loan from the London branch of the bank using the fixed deposit as security. The proceeds of the loan was then transferred to Ratnakar Bank and split into four FDs. Subsequently, Radashir Jewellery Pvt Ltd, run by Nirav Modi, took a loan of Rs 180 crore against these four deposits for two years. In 2015-16, the loan was closed and “the funds were re-remitted to Purvi Modi’s account in Syndicate Bank, London, and Barclays Bank, Singapore”, the ED complaint said.
It also said that Purvi’s Dubai-based firm, Fine Classic FZE “purchased diamonds from the dummy Dubai companies of Nirav Modi and had not paid for the purchase”. Fine Classic FZE, the ED complaint said, transferred US$ 65 million to Nirav’s Firestar Holdings Ltd and received preference shares.
In 2017, Firestar Holdings transferred US$ 65 million to Purvi “in guise”of redemption of the preference shares.