A US bankruptcy court plans to seek assistance from a UK bankruptcy court to help it serve judicial documents to fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi, who was arrested in London last month.
The development comes after the US bankruptcy court charged Modi and two of his associates under a tough law, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which was used by the US government to nail mobster families.
“This court requests assistance from the appropriate judicial authority in the United Kingdom to serve judicial documents on Nirav Deepak Modi," said a letter, dated 5 April, from Richard Levin, managing trustee, US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
A copy of the letter was reviewed by Mint.
“Richard Levin, not individually, but solely as chapter 11 trustee for the above-captioned Debtors, submits this application for the issuance of a Letter of Request to the Senior Master of the Royal Courts of Justice of the United Kingdom for judicial assistance with service of the Complaint Against Insiders, Summons and Notice of Pretrial Conference in an Adversary Proceeding, and Motion to Approve Order Regarding Nirav Deepak Modi’s Time to Respond to the Complaint," reads the 5 April letter. The senior master is the central authority responsible for approval of requests from foreign countries.
“This Application is made under 11 U.S.C. § 105(a), Rule 7004(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and Rule 4(f)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Service will be effected in accordance with Article 10(b) of the Hague Service Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents, to which the United States and the United Kingdom are signatories."
Last week, Levin had filed a complaint in the bankruptcy court against Modi, Mihir Bhansali and Ajay Gandhi, top executives of the three bankrupt US companies, and accused them of “breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste, and violations of the RICO Act".
Bhansali and Gandhi, who are based in the US, have been served a copy of the complaint and court proceedings.
In February 2018, after the Punjab National Bank accused Modi’s companies of perpetrating a $2 billion fraud for over seven years, three of his companies—Firestar Diamond, A. Jaffe and Fantasy—had filed for bankruptcy protection in the US. Subsequently, the US Bankruptcy Court had appointed Levin as the managing trustee in the bankruptcy case.
A successful conviction under the RICO Act could see Modi and his two associates facing up to 20 years in prison and an award of treble damages plus attorney’s fees.