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January 03, 2020

Mehul Choksi To Fight Against Extradition To India


[ By Bobby Anthony ]

Mehul-Choksi

The Antigua & Barbuda High Court is all set to hear arguments by lawyers representing absconding fugitive diamantaire Mehul Chinubbhai Choksi as well as the Government of Antigua & Barbuda in February 2020, in order to determine whether or not he should be stripped off his citizenship of Antigua & Barbuda.

“Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has given a notice that he intends to deprive Choksi’s citizenship on the ground of willful concealment of material facts. We are challenging that. The date comes up for that first hearing in February and we await that hearing,” Mehul Choksi’s attorney Dr David Dorsett has been quoted as telling the local media in Antigua.

It may be recalled that Mehul Choksi was granted Antigua’s citizenship in November 2017 under that nation’s controversial Citizenship Investment Program. Antigua had launched this program a few years ago to tap into the global citizenship market estimated to be worth USD 2 billion. The holders of an Antiguan passport can enjoy visa-free travel to approximately 132 countries, which includes Singapore, United Kingdom and countries of the Schengen area.

Meanwhile, in a related development, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has urged the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, to speed up Mehul Choksi’s extradition to India, according to MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

“We are putting in all our efforts in both cases (Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi) on the ground to expedite the extradition,” Kumar said during MEA's recent weekly briefing.

Choksi is wanted in India for his involvement in a USD 2 billion bank scam involving Punjab National Bank (PNB).

Allegedly, the fugitive diamantaire and his company allegedly bypassed PNB’s core banking system and issued fraudulent Letters of Understanding (LoUs) to make payments to suppliers without making entries in the banking software about these LoUs.

Along with his nephew Nirav Modi, fugitive absconder Mehul choksi has been charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and dishonesty, including delivery of property, corruption as well as money laundering.

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