|The opening of Nirav Modi’s jewellery store on New York’s Madison Avenue in the autumn of 2015 attracted top A-listers. It also celebrated the expansion of an Indian business that is now near ruin amid an investigation into an alleged US$2 billion fraud.|
As investigators probe Modi’s alleged use of fake guarantees from the Punjab National Bank to solicit loans, his past decade’s business dealings are also coming under scrutiny.
|The fallout over the scandal threatens to hit the borrowing firepower of the nation’s jewellers, who are involved in cutting or polishing 12 out of every 14 diamonds sold in the world. Modi’s father and grandfather were, like him, “diamantaires” – a French term for specialist gem-cutters and members of an established diamond-dealing family. Seized items include a Rolls-Royce Ghost, a Porsche Panamera, two Mercedes-Benz vehicles, dozens of imported watches, a farm, and residential and office properties in Mumbai and Pune. Modi established his company in 1999 and took it abroad five years later. With Nirav Modi boutiques in at least six cities, he was eyeing 30 more outlets in 12 countries by 2020. Those plans have been shelved.|