Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi loses extradition appeal in UK court

Security guards stand inside Nirav Modi showroom in New Delhi

By Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) -Fugitive Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi faces extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering after a London court dismissed his appeal on Wednesday.

Modi has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer declined to comment.

The jeweller, who fled India in 2018 before details of his alleged involvement in large-scale fraud at the Punjab National Bank became public, argued that there was a high risk of suicide if he was extradited, a copy of the London court judgement says.

But London’s High Court ruled on Wednesday that Modi, 51, could be kept safe at Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, where he is due to be detained.

Judge Jeremy Stuart-Smith said that the risk of suicide if Modi is extradited may be high, but that the arrangements at the prison “will enable the authorities to cope properly with Mr Modi’s condition”.

Modi, whose diamonds have adorned Hollywood stars such as Kate Winslet and Dakota Johnson, can challenge the ruling at the UK Supreme Court.

He was arrested in Britain in March 2019 and has been in custody since then.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Mumbai; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)