Interpol on Monday issued an arrest warrant for India’s billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi.
This is in a bid to tighten the noose on one of the main suspects in a $1.8-billion fraud at a major state-run bank.
Modi’s eponymous high-end brand has stores in several of the world’s major cities and his celebrity clients have included Hollywood A-listers Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet.
Modi, thought to be in London, is accused of being at the centre of a $1.8-billion fraud involving India’s second largest public lender, the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
India last month requested Interpol to issue a so-called red corner notice – which seeks the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition – to help trace Modi after the fugitive diamond merchant was last spotted in Britain.
The 47-year-old merchant to the stars was charged by Indian authorities with money laundering and several courts have issued arrest warrants over his failure to appear before them since he fled the country in February.
He is worth $1.73 billion and is placed 85th on India’s rich list, according to Forbes. His lawyer has denied all the charges.
His escape has caused a massive public outcry, with opposition parties accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi – not a relative – of helping him abscond.