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Fugitive Indian jeweller Nirav Modi arrested in London: UK police

Al Jazeera logo Al Jazeera 20/3/2019 Al Jazeera English
a man holding a fork and knife: Interpol had issued a red notice for the arrest of celebrated diamond jeweller last July [Divyakant Solanki/EPA] © [Divyakant Solanki/EPA] Interpol had issued a red notice for the arrest of celebrated diamond jeweller last July [Divyakant Solanki/EPA]

Fugitive billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi had been arrested in London on behalf of the Indian authorities, British police said on Wednesday.

India had asked Britain in August to extradite Modi, one of the main suspects charged in the $2bn loan fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB), India's biggest banking fraud.

Police said Modi, 48, had been arrested in the Holborn area of central London on Tuesday and was due to appear at London's Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Interpol had issued a red notice for the arrest of the celebrated diamond jeweller last July.

PNB, India's second-largest state-run bank, in 2018 said that two jewellery groups headed by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had defrauded it by raising credit from other Indian banks using illegal guarantees issued by rogue PNB staff.

Modi, a third-generation diamond trader who has dressed stars including actors Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson and Priyanka Chopra, was part of a CEOs meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He is worth $1.73bn according to Forbes, placing him 85th on India's rich list.

Modi and Choksi, who have both denied wrongdoing, left India before the details of the fraud became public.

In December, a British court agreed that another high-profile Indian businessman, aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya, could be extradited to his homeland to face fraud charges. Mallya is currently appealing the decision.

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