Nirav Modi, an Indian jeweler accused of bank fraud to the tune of $2 billion, was denied bail in London, reported Bloomberg.
According to the report, citing a London judge, bail was denied because there were “substantial risks” that Modi could try to flee the country as India seeks extradition. Modi was arrested by the U.K. earlier this week, per the request of Indian authorities. Modi had plans to turn himself in next week, but a bank employee alerted authorities when he went to open an account, prompting the arrest.
Modi is a celebrity jeweler, famous for dressing celebrities in the U.S. He’s accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank, the Indian state bank, by acquiring guarantees from the bank to get loans from outside the country. Modi’s lawyer told the judge he “very strongly contests the allegation,” reported Bloomberg.
Bringing Modi back to India to face charges is being used as an election tool for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking re-election. He has no relation to Nirav Modi. If he is able to bring wealthy individuals who have broken laws back to the country and prosecute them, that could boost his image ahead of the election. However, going after wealthy executives who have allegedly committed fraud isn’t the only way Modi is trying to gain favor with voters.
Earlier this year, India — under his charge — instituted new eCommerce laws that forced Amazon and Walmart to overhaul their businesses, which drove costs up. In January, Prime Minister Modi was reportedly mulling offering free accident insurance to small businesses, as well as low-cost loans to cater to a key bloc of voters. His government has faced criticism for small business owners who were hurt by the ban on high-value currency in 2016.