The Real Deal New York

Fugitive accused in $2B bank scam may have hid money on Central Park South

Indian diamond mogul Nirav Modi made suspicious moves at Essex House and Ritz-Carlton residences
September 02, 2018 12:00PM

Nariv Modi with the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton and Essex House (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Indian diamond mogul Nirav Modi, accused of orchestrating the $2 billion Punjab National Bank scam, may have used his New York City apartment to launder money.

Modi, a fugitive on the run from Indian authorities and Interpol, is accused of defrauding the state-run bank by using phony guarantees to raise foreign credit.

Shortly before fraud charges were brought in India, Modi transferred an apartment he owns at the Essex House on Central Park South from an LLC that filed for bankruptcy in January this year to another he controlled with his wife, Indian news website the Wire reported.

“Because of the timing of this insider transaction so close in time to the bankruptcy filing, the backdrop of this fraud-related case, and the ease of using luxury real estate as a means to launder money, the Examiner views the ownership of the apartment and subsequent sale in January 2018 as suspect,” the court-appointed examiner the bankruptcy case wrote.

Modi bought the apartment for $5 million in 2007, and paid off his HSBC mortgage on the property shortly before transferring it.

Another LLC controlled by Modi bought a $25 million apartment last September at the Residences at the Ritz Carlton at 50 Central Park South all-cash. [The Wire] — Rich Bockmann