Government to push Belgium to act against Nirav Modi’s brother
Earlier this year, the Central Bureau of Investigation received an official communique from Belgian authorities stating that they could not extradite Nehal Modi as he was their citizen, people in the know said.
This comes nearly six months after the authorities in the European country rejected Indian agencies’ plea to extradite Nehal Modi, a brother of the prime accused in the fraud case, diamond merchant Nirav Modi.
Earlier this year, the Central Bureau of Investigation received an official communique from Belgian authorities stating that they could not extradite Nehal Modi as he was their citizen, the people said. Since then both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are in the process of collating evidences against Nehal so that those could be shared with Belgium.
“While the rejection of the extradition request is a major setback, subsequently the matter was studied and a decision was taken to share the evidence collected against Nehal with Belgium and request them to bring him to justice as per their laws,” said an official. “The allegations include those pertaining to money laundering, cheating and conspiring to commit an economic offence, crimes for which there are local laws in every country. We are hopeful that Belgium might act on our request.”
Nehal Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, are wanted in the case. While Choksi is believed to be in the twin Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Nirav Modi is lodged in a prison in London, after he was arrested by Scotland Yard in March.
In October 2017, the Belgian government introduced a new legislation against money laundering and terror financing. Under this, an individual found guilty of money laundering can be sentenced to a maximum term of five years and/or fined up to €800,000. Companies can be fined a maximum of €1.6 million.
According to the ED charge sheet, Nehal was a director of the now-defunct Firestar Diamonds USA and the "protector and investment adviser" for both Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The agency also alleged that Nehal Modi "knowingly and intentionally" helped his brother divert money to shell corporations and destroyed key evidence.