The Interpol has issued a red notice against Purvi Modi, the sister of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, in connection with the $2.2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) money laundering case. The notice, which was put up on Interpol’s website, says that Purvi Deepak Modi, a Belgian national, is required on charges of “money laundering.”
Nirav Modi’s wife Ami and uncle Mehul Choksi are also among the 21 people named in the charge sheet filed by CBI in a special court in Mumbai on May 14. While it’s believed that Modi is in the United Kingdom, Choksi fled to Antigua. India has asked both countries to extradite them.
Choksi denied the allegations in an interview with ANI, the news agency tweeted on Sept. 11.
The Interpol recently also issued an arrest warrant for Mihir R Bhansali, CEO of Firestar International, Nirav Modi’s jewelry firm in the United States, on charges of money laundering.
Once a red corner notice is issued, the international agency asks its 192 member countries to arrest or detain the person if spotted in their territories, following which extradition or deportation proceedings can begin.
Purvi, 44, speaks English, Gujarati, and Hindi, according to the Interpol notice.
The Interpol action against her came after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Indian central agency probing the case along with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), asked it to issue the arrest warrant against her.
The scam was allegedly conducted over several years during 2011-17 by raising credit from overseas branches of other Indian banks using illegal Letters of Undertaking issued by employees at PNB’s Mumbai branch.
Purvi played “a major role in laundering the proceeds of crime generated from the PNB scam” and was a “beneficiary of the scam to the tune of at least $133 million (over Rs. 950 crore),” the Indian Express reported, citing an ED official.
Purvi is also the “owner/director of several shell or investment companies formed solely for the purpose to launder the proceeds of crime in companies located in the UAE, British Virgin Islands, and Singapore,” the ED said in its probe report, according to PTI.
The Indian agency approached Interpol after Purvi did not comply with summons issued for her alleged role in the scam.
The ED had named her in the first charge sheet filed in the case before a Mumbai court in May.
In August, public summons were issued to her and Neeshal by a special Fugitive Economic Offenders Act court in Mumbai, which asked them to appear before it on Sept. 25, according to Firstpost. Under the Act, assets of fugitive economic offenders can be confiscated.
According to the ED’s prosecution complaint, Nirav Modi diverted about $ 629 million of $ 1,015.34 million outstanding fraudulent LoUs issued by the PNB to him, his firms and his relatives, through 15 “dummy companies” in UAE and Hong Kong, the Indian Express had reported earlier. Nirav Modi diverted $ 265 million to his group firms, Purvi and her husband Maiank Mehta through nine UAE-based dummy firms, the report added citing the ED probe.
According to ED, Purvi formed and managed a number of overseas companies, all dubious or bogus “in a very complex manner to camouflage the criminal origin of funds in these companies,” the PTI report said, adding that some trusts incorporated for money laundering, such as Montecristo Trust, Ithaca Trust, New Zealand Trust, were found to be associated with her.
Purvi allegedly opened bank accounts in her name, in the name of her companies, and in overseas jurisdictions like Barbados, Mauritius, Switzerland, Singapore, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong, to create a complex structure to pass the money around.
“She was also the beneficiary of Dubai and Hong Kong-based dummy companies in which LOUs (letters of undertaking) were credited,” the news agency reported citing ED investigation. “Later on, her name was removed from these companies and dummy directors were introduced there. Therefore, she actively participated in the crime of money laundering and layering of the money thus acquired and was also the beneficiary of the proceeds of crime.”