The High Court in London on Friday gave a summary judgment against jailed diamantaire Nirav Modi asking him to pay $ 8 million to Bank of India.

09 August 2016, Mumbai : Nirav Modi Indian jewellery designer at his office in Lower Parel, in Mumbai . Photo By Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint (Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)

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A summary judgement is one where one of the parties is not present in court or the court sees no merit in their case. The Bank of India had filed an application in the High Court in London to recover $ 8 million from Modi’s Dubai-based company Firestar Diamond FZE. Friday’s judgment allows the bank to start the recovery process from the Dubai entity and to auction Modi’s properties and assets anywhere in the world. Nirav Modi is, at present, lodged in Thameside prison in the UK.

Tom Beasley, the barrister representing BOI, and instructed by solicitor Milan Kapadia of Royds Withy King, impressed upon the judge that Nirav Modi had no prospect of success and that there was no need for the case to go to trial. The outstanding amount stemmed from the credit facility which the bank had with Nirav Modi. The judgment of US$ 8 million includes $4 million in principal and another $4 million in interest.

BOI had extended credit worth $9 million to Nirav Modi’s Firestar but when the bank demanded repayment in 2018, he was unable to honour the commitment. As Firestar Diamond FZE is based in Dubai, a summary judgment from the UK court is more readily enforceable there. Modi was the chief executive officer of Firestar FZE and was also the guarantor. The court was also told, “Nirav Modi has filed a defence to the claim and his solicitors were served with a copy of the present application but have not responded to the same.” Judge Jonathan Klein then concluded that even though Modi is in prison he was given the opportunity to fight the claim brought by Bank of India.

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“We are content with the judgment and look forward the next steps,” said BOI solicitor Milan Kapadia. Modi has also not yet settled his legal bills for his extradition case which he lost. He has been appearing in Barkingside Magistrates’ court in London for non-payment of over £150,000 in legal cost. He told the magistrate that he does not have access to any funds as the Indian government has frozen all his assets. He told the magistrate that he would make monthly payments towards the unpaid legal costs by borrowing money from friends and relatives.


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