- He faces more serious charges in India for allegedly laundering more than $100 million for his billionaire jeweler brother, Nirav Modi.
An Indian gem trader from a prominent family was indicted on Dec. 18 for fraudulently obtaining over $1.4 million worth of diamonds from a Manhattan, New York-based wholesale company. In a press release, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said Nehal Modi, 41, is charged with grand larceny in the first degree.
Nehal Modi is the step-brother of Nirav Modi, and is a Belgian citizen. Nirav Modi, 49, was arrested in London last year for his alleged role in a $2 billion bank fraud in India — the largest in the country’s history.
Nehal Modi pleaded not guilty on Dec. 18 and was released without bail. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
“This is a commercial dispute,” said Modi’s defense lawyer Roger Bernstein, according to the New York Post. “Mr. Modi is not guilty,” he said.
According to the indictment, court filings, and statements made on the record in court, Nehal Modi, a former member of Noble Titan Holdings, LLC, allegedly obtained over $2.6 million worth of diamonds from LLD Diamonds USA in 2015, “on favorable credit terms and consignment.” He claimed that he was pursuing a relationship with Costco Wholesale Corporation and asked LLD to provide several diamonds, worth nearly $800,000, to present to Costco for a potential sale.
Instead, he allegedly took $1.4 million worth of the jewels and pawned them at Modell “to secure two separate loans and sold the remainder of the diamonds to various retailers at a steep discount from the listed consignment price,” the press release said. He paid back about $1.2 million to LLD Diamonds, but when he was unable to return the balance to the company, LLD Diamonds reported the alleged scam to the DA’s office.
Meanwhile, Nehal Modi faces more serious charges in India for allegedly laundering more than $100 million for his billionaire jeweler brother. This May, Interpol issued a red notice informing international law enforcement that Nehal Modi is wanted by Indian authorities for alleged money laundering and destruction of evidence in connection to the scheme. His brother Nishal Modi and sister Purvi Modi are also implicated in the bank fraud.
In December 2019, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a supplementary charge sheet against Nirav Modi, giving out a detailed account of how Nehal Modi actively assisted his brother.
Nirav Modi is currently in London, waiting to be extradited to India. The final hearings in the extradition case are scheduled over two days, on Jan. 7 and 8 2021, NDTV reported.