New Delhi: Worried his arrest is imminent, Nirav Modi has started selling off some of his international assets.
The disgraced diamond merchant, currently holed up in Hong Kong with his lawyers, has sold off three of his companies to Signet Jewellers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery, and Independence Stores which have retail outlets across the US.
The three companies provided jewellery to Firestar, Fantasy and A. Jaffe – companies under Modi’s control that have already filed for bankruptcy in a US court earlier this February.
What is surprising is that Modi has not informed the Indian government’s Ministry of Commerce, or the Mumbai-based Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) about the sale of his three companies. Under the current circumstances where the Indian government has issued a non bailable warrant against him, Modi - as per law - cannot sell any of his assets.
Sharing of information pertaining to sale is vital, especially at a time when Indian investigating authorities have seized and frozen assets belonging to Modi and his companies, including factories in India that produced most of the jewellery to settle a $2 billion fraud on Indian banks caused by Modi.
Firestar and Fantasy have annual sales of about $90 million between them. The two companies currently have about $33.25 million-worth of jewellery on consignment with customers.
In Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said it was awaiting a clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs to extradite Modi from his hideout in Hong Kong.