PNB 'fraudulent' transactions and role of Nirav Modi: All you need to know about the billionaire diamond jeweller

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday has received two complaints from Punjab National Bank (PNB) against billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and a jewellery company regarding fraudulent transactions worth Rs 10,000 crore. Last week CBI booked Modi, his wife Ami, brothers and partners for cheating PNB of Rs 280.7 crore, a PTI report said.

The shares of the bank tumbled more than 8 percent after the fraud came to light, a PTI report said. In afternoon trade, PNB shares were trading at Rs 148, down by 14 points or 8.5 percent.

Here's all you need to know about the billionaire diamond jeweller:

What is the case about?

The CBI has acted on a complaint from the Punjab National Bank, which alleged that Modi, his brother Nishal, wife Ami and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi - his uncle, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds, were in conspiracy with officials of the bank and cheated it causing "wrongful loss", the officials said. The Indian Express had reported that the income tax department had raided over 50 offices and residential premises of Modi. The I-T department seized cash, jewellery and several documents that allegedly revealed tax evasion by his firms. Besides, the agency found bogus purchases and cash sales that were not recorded in the books of the firms, the IE report said.

Who is Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi is a 48-year-old jewellery designer, who was often in the past described as India’s billionaire diamond king in the media. In 2017, he was ranked 84 on the Forbes Richest List. Forbes magazine described him as the founder of the $2.3 billion (in revenues) of Firestar Diamond. His current net worth is $1.73 billion.

What did he want to do for a career

Though Modi hails from a family of diamond brokers in Antwerp, Belgium, the third generation scion was keen on a career in music. In an interview with Business World, Modi said he toyed with the idea of becoming a music conductor. His reasoning, according to the interview, was music has the ability to move people and influence their thinking.

Nirav Modi. Facebook image.

Nirav Modi. Facebook image.

How he became a jeweller

In an interview with Business World, Modi said that his interest in jewellery designing was kindled when a friend requested him to design her a pair of earrings. Though he was reluctant initially to take up the request, he soon got down to doing it. His search for high-quality diamonds for the task ended up in Russia. “The utter delight and the happiness my friend expressed upon seeing the jewel was the impetus that I needed to get into this field,” he said in the interview.

Following that Modi went to Wharton but dropped out and headed for India to get trained from his uncle in the diamond trade, Forbes said.

Nirav Modi jewellery outlets

In 2010, he established his internationally diamond jewellery house using his name for the brand. Modi has launched 16 stores in diverse locations such as Delhi, Mumbai, New York, Hong Kong, London and Macau, the Forbes magazine said.

The brand Nirav Modi is the only Indian brand to be featured on Christie’s catalogue cover, according to MillionaireAsia which is featured on his website. His brand is worn by the likes of Hollywood celebrity Kate Winslett to Dakota Johnson and celebrity chef Massimo Bottura, to Aishwarya Rai and millionaire wives of corporates among others in India and abroad. Priyanka Chopra was signed as the brand ambassador since January 2017.

What he said about entrepreneurship

‘Think outside the box - don’t be afraid to take risks and be different’, he said to Businessworld. Evidently, the ‘risks’ have not worked for him now as his role in the alleged fraudulent transactions in the Punjab National Bank shows


Updated Date: Feb 15, 2018 16:06 PM

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