Eastern Eye (UK)

Nirav has no cash to pay fine


NIRAV MODI, the fugitive diamond merchant wanted in India to stand trial on fraud and money laundering charges, has claimed he has no funds and is resorting to borrowing money to pay the court-ordered legal costs of more than £150,000.

The 52-year-old former billionair­e last year lost his legal battle in the highest UK court against being extradited to India. He is accused of fraud in an estimated $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam.

But his case is now said to be “statute barred”, indicating further pending litigation.

Modi is behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in southwest London, from where he appeared via videolink for a hearing at Barkingsid­e Magistrate­s’ Court in east London last Thursday (9) over unpaid legal costs, or fines, of £150,247 ordered by the High Court in London, related to his extraditio­n appeal proceeding­s.

According to officials, the magistrate­s at a procedural hearing for court fines granted his plea to be allowed to pay £10,000 a month before a review hearing to take place in six months’ time.

Asked how he intended to finance the monthly amount, Modi told the court he borrowed money as he did not have sufficient funds after his assets were frozen in India in relation to the extraditio­n proceeding­s.

In December last year, a two-judge bench in the Royal Courts of Justice in London refused the businessma­n’s applicatio­n for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on suicide risk grounds and also refused his applicatio­n to certify a point of law, which concluded his extraditio­n appeal options in the UK courts.

This case may be subject to further litigation, Home Office sources have said, which is likely to indicate a parallel confidenti­al political asylum appeals process. Modi was arrested in March 2019 on an extraditio­n warrant.

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