London as a ‘Bollygarch’ bolthole rankles with New Delhi
India makes no secret of its displeasure with the UK’s role as a haven for its tycoons
He might not be a global name like Roman Abramovich, but in India the billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is notorious enough. Authorities in New Delhi hunted the fugitive magnate for months, following one of India’s largest financial scandals.
News that he is now preparing to seek asylum in Britain is likely to dent already fractious UK-India relations. But it also underlines a deeper issue: Britain may have a Russian oligarch problem, but it has an Indian “Bollygarch” problem too.
Mr Modi made his name selling ornate necklaces and bracelets to Bollywood starlets, before opening Nirav Modi stores from Bond Street in London to Madison Avenue in New York. His downfall began this year when India’s second-largest state bank linked an alleged $1.77bn fraud to Mr Modi, who denies any wrongdoing.
For months, rumours swirled that the tycoon might be holed up in Hong Kong or New York. His emergence in London leaves Britain hosting three of India’s émigré billionaires. Alongside Mr Modi are the brewer and airline mogul Vijay Mallya and cricket tycoon Lalit Modi, both of whom deny wrongdoing in domestic scandals, but have left their homeland nonetheless……