Trustee’s filing in Bankruptcy court reveals high-value sculptures in Nirav Modi Company
Most of the news that appeared in the media dealt with the consequences of a ruling against Nirav Modi should the court rule for his extradition. The next date for this case is on April 26, when Nirav Deepak Modi (full name) is set to testify via video link from a United Kingdom (UK) jail.
What happens when a company files for Bankruptcy in the US?
When a company, such as Firestar Diamonds, Inc. of which Nirav Modi is the Chief Executive Officer, files for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in a United States Bankruptcy court, the court appoints a Trustee, who will come into the company and take inventory of its assets and liabilities. The Bankruptcy Court appointed Richard Levin as the trustee for the group of companies that declared Chapter 11 (Firestar, Fantasy and AJ). The ownership pattern and holding company information are shown at the end of this post in the court filing. To cut a long story short, the ultimate owner of all these companies is Firestar International Limited (“FIL”), which is incorporated in India. And Nirav Modi is one of the Directors in FIL.
Was Nirav Modi keeping them for high net-worth individual(s) who had the assurance that the property would not be moved out of his offices?
Why is Nirav Modi under RICO scanner?
23 Sculptures of value were taken into possession by the Trustee and have been deemed to be of considerable value. Of these, 22 were made of Terra Cotta and were purchased by “Deepak Modi,” with an address in Hong Kong, in March 2010 at an auction conducted in New York by Christie’s Inc. The remaining sculpture is a gilded female head that, upon information and belief, was created by Indian artist Ravinder Reddy in 2000 and is entitled An Dalu (“An Dalu”). Upon information and belief, An Dalu was sold by Christie’s London in 2015. The Trustee has not been able to ascertain the identity of the purchaser at the auction. All these were at the time of bankruptcy filing, at the offices of Firestar Diamond, located at 592, 5th Avenue, New York, New York.
After the Trustee’s appointment, the defendant Ami Modi appeared at the Debtors’ offices claiming to be the owner of the Sculptures and demanding that the Sculptures be turned over to her. Mark Samson, the Debtors’ Chief Restructuring Officer at the time, refused to turn over the Sculptures absent proof of ownership. Note this important fact – Ami, the wife of Nirav Modi, could not provide proof of ownership.
So who owns these sculptures?
That is the multi-million dollar question. Was Nirav Modi keeping them for high net-worth individual(s) who had the assurance that the property would not be moved out of his offices? Till date, the Trustees have not obtained any information about the current owner of any sculpture. So who could it be? This is just the beginning of what could end up being a long and sordid saga.
A copy of the filing in the US Bankruptcy Court:
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