UK Court Rejects Nirav Modi’s Bail Application, Citing Risk of ‘Evading Justice’

Nirav Modi_LegallySpeaking

Nirav Modi, the fugitive businessman who has been imprisoned in London for more than five years, filed a fresh bail application which a UK judge rejected, ruling that he still presented a “substantial risk” of evading justice.

The 52-year-old diamond merchant, who lost his extradition battle to face charges of fraud and money laundering in India, did not appear for the bail hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. However, his son and two daughters were present in the gallery.

Bail Rejected

District Judge John Zani accepted the argument from their legal team that the significant passage of time since the last bail application three and a half years ago constituted a change in circumstances permitting the hearing to proceed.

“However, I am satisfied that there remain substantial grounds against bail. There continues to be a real, substantial risk that the applicant [Nirav Modi] would fail to attend court or interfere with witnesses,” Judge Zani concluded in his judgment after a brief hearing. “This case involves, by any footing, a very substantial fraud allegation… not one where bail can be granted and the application is refused,” he added.

The court was informed that although Modi had lost his legal battle against extradition, there were “confidential” proceedings underway initiated by him.

While this could indicate an asylum application, the only indirect mention in court was when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing the Indian authorities, refuted the claim that the UK Home Secretary might “never be able to order extradition” as inaccurate.

“He has shown his complete determination to avoid facing the allegations in an Indian court, and it is no exaggeration to say the fraud in question exceeds USD 1 billion, of which only USD 400 million has been seized. Therefore, he could still have access to significant resources in various jurisdictions,” CPS barrister Nicholas Hearn told the court.

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