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Indian diamond billionaire Nirav Modi loses appeal against extradition from UK

<i>Aniruddha Chowdhury/Getty Images</i><br/>Forbes once ranked Nirav Modi as India's 85th richest man
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Aniruddha Chowdhury/Getty Images
Forbes once ranked Nirav Modi as India's 85th richest man

By Sugam Pokharel, CNN

A London court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from Indian billionaire Nirav Modi against his extradition from the United Kingdom to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering.

British police arrested the diamond dealer in 2019 in London over his alleged involvement in a bank fraud that could be worth $2 billion.

Modi’s lawyers last year challenged a court order allowing the British government to extradite the fugitive businessman, citing his mental health and risk of suicide.

London’s High Court dismissed the appeal on Wednesday, saying Modi’s risk of suicide does not rule out his extradition.

Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith, one of the two judges, said that they were “far from satisfied that Mr Modi’s mental condition and the risk of suicide are such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him,” according to the court ruling.

“On the basis of the assurances that the (Indian government) has given, we accept that there will be suitable medical provision and an appropriate plan in place for the management and medical care of Mr Modi, which will be provided in the knowledge that he is a suicide risk,” the judges said.

Modi’s alleged fraud first came to light in 2018 when Punjab National Bank, one of India’s largest banks, reported fraudulent activity at one of its branches.

India then issued an Interpol Red Notice for Modi’s arrest and London authorities were asked to execute it. The Indian foreign ministry said in a statement at the time that it welcomed the arrest, and would seek to extradite Modi as soon as possible.

Modi and officials at the bank allegedly issued fraudulent Letters of Undertakings to overseas banks to obtain buyer’s credit, according to India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Forbes once ranked Modi as India’s 85th richest man, with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

CNN has reached out to his lawyer after the court’s decision on Wednesday but is yet to hear back.

Modi, who remains at Wandsworth Prison in London, can challenge Wednesday’s court ruling at the UK Supreme Court.

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CNN’s Swati Gupta contributed to this report

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