The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has issued a public statement clarifying that scandal-tarred Indian diamond billionaire Nirav Modi will not be moving to the Caribbean islands, contrary to published reports that appeared last week.
“Modi is not a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, and neither are his wife and uncle [Gitanjali Gems managing director Mehul Choksi],” said the statement, attributed to the office of Prime Minister Timothy Harris and printed in The St. Kitts and Nevis Observer, a local publication. “Furthermore, Citizenship by Investment record checks confirm that no applications have been made by or on behalf of these individuals. Immigration records also indicate that none of these people has entered any port in St. Kitts and Nevis. An Interpol report dated Feb. 15 does not list St. Kitts and Nevis anywhere as a country likely to be visited by these individuals.”
The statement said the islands’ Citizen by Investment program has been overhauled and now features multi-layered due diligence, including a “broad check of media and criminal databases, as well as sanctions lists, and makes a determination whether there are serious or pending legal, regulatory or political matters that would require consideration before any application is approved.”
The islands reportedly do not have an extradition treaty with India.
Modi, who has owned several jewelry companies as well as a retail chain that bears his name, is accused of fraudulently procuring more than $1 billion from state-owned Punjab National Bank, in a scandal that has shaken the Indian industry. His attorney, Vijay Aggarwal, has denied the charges.
Modi appears to have left India, and at press time his current whereabouts are unknown. Aggarwal did not answer a request for comment from JCK.
The Mumbai Mirror, quoting unnamed sources, reported last week that Modi would be moving to the islands.
(Photo courtesy of the government of St. Kitts and Nevis)