Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, who allegedly defrauded a state-run bank of $2 billion, was arrested and is due to appear in court on Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan police said in a statement.
Indian authorities are seeking to extradite Modi, who dressed stars including Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson and Priyanka Chopra, and face charges of fraudulently acquiring guarantees from Punjab National Bank that was later used to obtain loans from abroad, according to complaints filed by the lender.
Extraditing Modi, and other tycoons including Vijay Mallya, a businessman who now lives in London after an airline he owned defaulted on $1.3 billion in loans, is becoming an election issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s no relation to Nirav. Prosecuting wealthy individuals accused of breaking the law could boost the prime minister’s image ahead of polls due to start next month. Mallya and Nirav Modi deny the allegations.
“It’s a success to Modi government’s efforts in catching defaulters.’’ said Harish Ramaswamy, a political analyst and professor
of political science at
Karnataka University. “Congress is losing issues and will have to be defensive. It will go in BJP’s favour.’’
Modi grew up in Antwerp, the son and grandson of diamantaires, according to his website. Apart from India, he had boutiques in cities including New York, London, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Kate Winslet had worn Modi’s creations at the 2016 Oscars. In 2017, Modi had signed up Priyanka Chopra — star of the US TV series Quantico — as his brand ambassador.