India's most wanted diamantaire, Nirav Modi, may have made a quiet exit from his Hong Kong business, documents accessed by India Today TV have revealed. Nirav Modi's Firestar International Pvt Ltd., which was registered as a non-Hong Kong Company, informed the country's authorities through their company secretary Suresh Kumar Bhutani that their company had ceased to have Hong Kong as a place of business.
According to 'The Notice of Cessation of Place of Business' accessed by INDIA TODAY, which was filed on December 12, 2017, but notified to Hong Kong Companies Registry on January 19, 2018, Nirav's firm ceased to have business in Hong Kong. This is the only company related to Nirav Modi which filed such notice recently. While other Hong Kong-based companies associated with Nirav such as Nirav Modi Ltd., Nirav Modi HK Ltd., Firestar Diamond Ltd. and Firestar Holding Ltd. don't have the diamond magnate as the director or as the person with significant control.
It can be speculated that India's number one jewel thief may have wrapped up his business in Hong Kong, and moved his money to another place, well before Indian investigative agencies could reach Though no formal announcement was made, a press statement issued by the registry read-"In an effort to enhance Hong Kong's regulatory regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, a new licensing regime for trust or company service providers, and new requirements on the keeping of significant controllers registers by companies took effect on March 1."
According to this new order, all 'Hong Kong companies, except listed companies, are required to ascertain and maintain up-todate beneficial ownership information by way of keeping a significant controllers register. The register should be open for inspection by law enforcement officers upon demand' the statement said. Clearly, the new laws adopted by the Hong Kong authorities would make it tough for people to hide their money behind shell companies.
According to documents accessed from Hong Kong authorities, Bankim Madhu Mehta, who holds Indian passport and lives in New Jersey, USA, is the sole director of Firestar Diamond LTD, and also holds the position of director at Firestar Holdings LTD. While Nirav continues to live in hiding, some of the foreign companies associated with him are witnessing restructuring.
According to documents accessed by INDIA TODAY, a French national named Angelina Nguyen, who is a director of Firestar International Limited, has recently resigned from the directorship of UK-based Nirav Modi LTD and Hong Kongbased Nirav Modi HK LTD. While 58-year-old Nguyen resigned from UK firm on March 5, 2018, her resignation to two of Hong Kong-based Nirav Modi related companies was received on of February 27 earlier this
year, indicating that the resignations happened days after the news of bank fraud came up. While the details of this notification is awaited, it's good enough to establish another restructuring in another foreign based Nirav Modi company. So, while brand Nirav Modi may continue to do business in Hong Kong and elsewhere, the man behind the brand might well be miles away, and the Indian investigative agencies will find it tough to trace Nirav's money as Nirav Modi himself.
Story was earlier published in Mail Today