Nirav negó la libertad bajo fianza por tercera vez después de que el juez escuchó que él 'lsquo; atrajo testigos a Egipto ’ para prevenir el testimonio
LONDON: Nirav Modi His Third Request For Bail Was Rejected On Wednesday After A London Court He Realized That He Had Drawn His Employees From Abu Dhabi To Egypt To See The Pyramids And Provided Money To Establish Business There To Prevent It From Stating Against You.
Clare Montgomery QC, Representing Nirav, Upped His Bail Security Offer To £ 2 Million (about Rs 18 Crore) And Offered For Him To 24-hour Curfew At A Special Bail Hearing At Westminster Magistrates' Court. She Argued That He Did Not Have" Substantial Assets" Giving Him Means To Flee The UK As Most Of His Assets And Bank Accounts Had Been Frozen By The Indian Authorities.
" The Value Given Of The Fraud Has Been Either Seized By Enforcement Authorities, Frozen In Bank Accounts Or Held By Liquidators," She Said.
He Also Argued That Nirav Had Not" False Imprisoned" His Employees In Egypt Between April And June 2018 And Had Presented Evidence Of Some Witnesses Indicating That They Had Gone There Because Of Their Own Will, As They Feared The Direction Of Execution ." We Went To Egypt For Fear Of Arrest," He Said, Reading The Statement By An Employee, Ashish Laid, Who The CPS Claimed At An Earlier Bail Application Had Gone To Egypt Involuntarily And Had Been Detained Against His Will.
" We Saw Transcripts Of His Tapes And He Did Not Say Anything That Suggests He Is Unlawfully Detained Or Unable To Leave. He Said We Came To Cairo To Save Ourselves As We Were Afraid The Agency Would Take Us And Do Something To Us. It Was Everyone's Personal Call To Go. It Is About A Group Of Them Ending Up In Cairo, Not One Tries To Make Them Stay," She Said.
She Said That Whenever They Wanted To Leave Egypt, They Could, And Nehal Modi, Nirav's Brother Who Resides In The US, Arranged Their Tickets. All Were Now Back In India Except Subhash Parag, She Said, Adding That 75% Of Them Were Graduates.
Montgomery Also Tried To Prove Nirav Had Community Ties To The UK By Saying He Had Two Adult Children In The US Because Their Grandfather Was Ill But That They Were Coming Back To The UK In The Summer For Internships, And That Nirav Had Been In The UK Since December 2017 And Had Not Tried To Leave Again Despite There Being No Interpol Red Corner Notice Against Him For Some Time.
Montgomery Told The Court That Nirav Came To The UK With A View To Listing His Company By Way Of An Initial Offering," Having Applied For Investor Status Here" . She Said Nirav Had Only Applied For Citizenship In Vanuatu And" Two Other European Countries" Because Of The Visa-free Travel He Would Get, And Not To Flee Justice. She Said The $ 175,000 (Rs 1.2 Crore) Had Had Paid For Vanuatu Citizenship Was Refunded To A Frozen Bank Account. Montgomery Also Said It Was Very Difficult To Prepare His Evidence For The Extradition Case From Wandsworth Prison.
She also disputed that servers had been destroyed and referred to a witness called Curtis Lowry who alleged he had been mistreated by the Direction Of Execution . “He says pressure was placed on him to give evidence against Nirav,” Montgomery said .
Nirav Appeared On The Dock With A Blue Shirt Open And Gazed At A Different Man, After Having Shaved Himself Completely. Handlebar Mustache .
But chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot was not convinced by the arguments. She said whilst she agreed there was a change of circumstances — the doubling of his bail security offer — she was concerned as it was a large fraud and the “nature of the offence that $60 million (about Rs 418 crore) was squirrelled away by him personally”. She referred to a statement by Nehal Modi where he appears to “tell an employee — Rushab — what to say” .
“Another witness describes the destruction of servers, so the combination of interference of witnesses and that and lack of community ties — you can’t tie down adult children — give me substantial grounds he would fail to surrender if granted bail and interfere with witnesses and obstruct justice,” Arbuthnot said .
Nicholas Hearn, representing the Indian government, argued that Nirav had sent his employees from his companies in Abu Dhabi — who had all been “dummy directors” in his alleged fraud — to Egypt and offered to pay for them to stay there to prevent them from giving evidence against him .
“Why are contacts of Nirav assisting them to set up businesses and homes in Egypt — these are prosecution witnesses,” Hearn said. He said there were transcripts of Nehal contacting the witnesses and arranging for statements to be taken .
“There would be no good reason for Nirav to arrange for them to travel to Egypt and help them start businesses — they were of meagre means and worked as employees of Nirav and were used as dummy directors of companies within Nirav’s genuine control,” Hearn said .
Hearn said there was evidence of Nehal Modi discussing arrangements for travel for Ashish Laid to “to reside in Kolkata as there is no lookout notice or anything there”, and credible evidence of interference with witnesses .
A witness statement by Subhash Parab, an executive in Nirav’s empire, became central to the arguments. According to his statement, he said he was voluntarily in Egypt and had not suffered threats at any time .
“He is alleged to be a key co-conspirator. So his statement needs to be treated with circumspection. His whereabouts are unknown although an extradition request was sent to Egypt and he is the subject of an Interpol red notice,” Hearn said .
“Nehal Modi does appear to be intimidating witnesses and threatening them they may end up in jail if they don’t cooperate,” Hearn said. “We have interviewed witnesses who allege Nehal Modi destroyed cellphones, records and computers. These witnesses were told they would be arrested if they came to India and improper offers were made to them in respect of statements they would give. There are plausible accounts of witnesses being contacted by those associated with Nirav, principally by Nehal Modi.” He claimed one of the employees, Ashish Laid, was offered Rs 20 lakh to “give a statement” .
But Montgomery said this was not money to give a false testimony but to cover the travel costs he would incur to give a statement to the UK court .
Montgomery Added:" The Claim By The Government Of India That Carried The Greatest Color And Traction Was That Of Subhash Parag Who Was Illegally Confined By Nirav In Egypt And That Nirav May Try And Harm Him As He Was A Crucial Person For The Investigating Agencies. That Is Why We Obtained A Statement From Him. It Is Clear He Is Not Under Threat Of Death Or Unlawfully Imprisoned. Now The Government Of India Is Saying He Is Co-accused And Wanted. We Submit The Evidence Concerning False Imprisonment Of People In Egypt Between April And July 2018 Is Flawed."
“The suggestion is made that people in Cairo were hopeless, barely literate people, but it turns out that nearly 75 per cent of them, as we have statements, were graduates. They were not duped into going to Egypt, rather they were concerned they would be charged, and in those circumstances they were given assistance. And when they chose as they did to return to India, they were provided with tickets,” she added .
Nirav, 48, was arrested on an extradition warrant in London on March 19. He is accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank between January 1 2017 and December 31, 2017 of between $1 billion and $2 billion (Rs 7,000 crore and Rs 14,000 crore) via the issuance of 144 fraudulent letters of undertaking through three of his companies and then laundering the proceeds of the crime .
He will next appear in person on May 30 for his first case management hearing .