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UK court allows sale of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s luxury London flat | India News

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NEW DELHI: The High Court in London on Wednesday ruled that a luxury apartment linked to the fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi could be sold for a value not less than GBP 5.25 million.
Master James Brightwell, the judge presiding over a hearing attended remotely by the 52-year-old Nirav from Thameside prison in south-east London, accepted representations from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to hold the proceeds from the sale of 103 Marathon House in a secure account after all “pressing liabilities” of the trust have been cleared.
The case centers on Trident Trust Company (Singapore) Pte Limited seeking to sell Apartment 103 in Marathon House, located in the prestigious Marylebone area of central London. The ED has argued that the apartment’s assets are proceeds from a massive fraud on the Punjab National Bank (PNB), for which Modi faces extradition proceedings.
Master Brightwell accepted representations from the ED to hold the proceeds from the sale in a secure account after clearing all pressing liabilities of the trust associated with the property. “I am satisfied that it is a reasonable decision to allow for the property to be sold for GBP 5.25 million or above,” Master Brightwell concluded.
While allowing the sale, the judge also noted objections raised by the ED regarding the creation of the trust, though these were not pursued at this stage of the case. Barrister Harish Salve, representing the ED, indicated that the sale was agreed to in principle, ensuring the protection of the interests of the ultimate beneficiary, potentially the Indian exchequer.
The proceedings revealed the complex nature of the case, with Nirav Modi asserting himself as the “true settler” of the trust and claiming entitlement to proceeds from the sale. However, arrangements with Indian authorities prevented Modi’s sister and her adult children, named beneficiaries in the trust, from participating in the proceedings.
During the hearing, Nirav Modi, clad in casual attire, raised concerns about the proposed buyer’s potential involvement in another money laundering case investigated by the ED. The court inserted a caveat into the order to consider the proposed purchaser carefully.
Nirav Modi’s legal battles continue even as he remains in custody. Despite losing his extradition appeal in 2022, further pending litigation surrounds his case. Recent court judgments have also ordered repayment of loans owed by companies connected to Modi.
Nirav was arrested in 2019 on charges related to the PNB loan scam and faces multiple criminal proceedings in India. His extradition has been ordered by the UK home secretary, pending resolution of legal challenges.

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