Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi applied for citizenship of island nation Vanuatu last year, around three months before the Rs 14,356 crore fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB) came to light, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.
The report said that Modi transferred $195,000 from his personal account to an authorised agent of the country, located in the South Pacific Ocean. His application was rejected after the government ran a check on him.
Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, a co-accused in the scam, is currently in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. He recently resurfaced after months, giving a video interview where he called the allegations against him “baseless”.
The fraud at PNB, by far the biggest ever detected by an Indian bank, first surfaced in February. Modi and Choksi are alleged to have cheated the state-run bank by issuing fraudulent letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit.