Nirav Modi in UK: What is the 'golden visa' the conman used to enter Britain?
Nirav Modi entered the United Kingdom on a 'golden visa' issued on his now-revoked Indian passport, said a Times of India report quoting UK government sources. It is a tier-1 investor visa issued to individuals from countries outside the European Union and Switzerland.
The golden visa is issued against investment of 2 million pounds in UK government bonds, share capital or companies. Applicants, however, cannot invest in companies engaged in property investment. The golden visa also allows for the spouse and children of the applicant to apply for residency.
The one time investment of 2 million pounds has to remain invested for at least five years for the applicant to gain permanent residency. The process can be expedited if the invested amount is higher. An investment of 5 million pounds can get the applicant eligibility for permanent residence within 3 years. The golden visa allows applicants to work, study, or set up a business in the United Kingdom.
The visa was issued reportedly years before the lid was blown over the PNB scam. Although Nirav Modi's Indian passport has been revoked, it does not affect his application for permanent residency in the UK.
Nirav Modi has been on the run from Indian agencies since January 2018, after his involvement in the Rs 14,000-crore PNB scam came to light. His Indian passport was revoked in February 2018, but Modi reportedly kept using it to travel till November 2018, before a red corner notice was issued against him by Interpol. Now he cannot leave the UK, but continues to run his business from London.
Reports suggest Modi has been living in London for the past several months, and has even started a new jewellery business there. While the exact date of his entry into UK is not known, he reportedly flew in from New York towards the end of February. The TOI report said that a new jewellery business called Diamond Holdings was tracked in the Centre Point London apartment block, the same locale where Modi is staying.
The company was set up on May 24, 2018 and deals in wholesale of watches and jewellery, retail sale of watches and jewellery in specialised stores and specialised design activities, the report said. The registered address of the company is 4th floor Scottish Provident House, 76/80 College Road, Harrow HA1 1BQ, the same as Modi's accountants Dattani Chartered Accountants.
The company has only one officer - 55-year-old British accountant named Raju Thakorbhai Patel. Nirav Modi is not listed as a director of Diamond Holdings. He reportedly lives close to his workplace in a swanky three-bedroom apartment worth 8-million pound in the Centre Point tower block.