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Antigua PM assures his support in the Mehul Choksi fraud case

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said on Friday that he is willing to support and promised all cooperation to the Indian government if they approach the Antigua authorities on fugitive diamond jeweller Mehul Choksi’s issue, reports said.

Mr Browne also said Choksi, who got the citizenship when there was no case against him, can lose the citizenship if he gave any false information at the time of application. Choksi wanted in the Rs. 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case along with nephew Nirav Modi, had taken Antiguan citizenship last year.

Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, allegedly involved in over USD 2 billion scams in Punjab National Bank, claims he had taken Antigua citizenship last year to expand his business as the passport of the Caribbean nation provides visa-free travel to 132 countries, local media in Antigua reported.

“At the time when he applied about August last year, there was no derogatory information on him. In fact, up to this point I do not believe that your law enforcement agencies in India would have posted anything on Interpol … So in essence, my country did nothing wrong,” Mr Browne said.

Choksi and Nirav Modi fled India in January this year nearly a fortnight before the scam was detected.

Mr Browne said the Indian authorities will have to follow the due process and Antigua will conduct an investigation and then there will be a decision on revocation of citizenship.

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