Jatin Mehta, the former Indian diamantaire who is currently being investigated for money laundering and whose companies have not repaid Indian banks $1 billion in borrowed money, has with his wife Sonia, given up Indian citizenship to become a citizen of the Caribbean island nation of Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
St Kitts and Nevis does not have an extradition treaty with India. Jatin and Sonia Mehta, who are said to be currently residing in Dubai, reportedly took citizenship of the Caribbean island nation in 2013-14.
GEMKonnect has learnt that diamond industry investigator Chaim Even-Zohar had been asked about the acquisition of the St Kitts & Nevis passports by the Bank Securities & Fraud Cell of the Central Bureau of Investigations in 2014. Even-Zohar himself went ahead and published the fact that Mehta had acquired the St Kitts & Nevis passport in the February 2014 issue of the Diamond Intelligence Briefs.
The Mehta-promoted Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery was declared a “wilful defaulter” by Indian banks in October 2013. Together with another Mehta promoted company, Forever Diamonds and Jewellery, Indian banks are owed $1 billion.
St Kitts and Nevis offers overseas investors citizenship if they either donate a substantial amount to the nation’s exchequer or make significant investments in island real estate. Mehta took citizenship at a time when he declared his companies were unable to repay banks because some of his UAE clients had been hit with derivatives losses and were unable to pay his companies over $700 million in owed money.
India’s Enforcement Directorate, which is tasked with investigating economic offences, has launched a money laundering probe against Mehta and recently attached properties in Mumbai and Surat belonging to Mehta worth $25.5 million.
ED officials conducted raids in Mumbai, Bangalore, Surat and Rajasthan in the course of the money laundering investigation. Investigating officials say that contrary to what Mehta has stated, the money owed to the banks was diverted by him along with an accomplice in the UAE.
Mehta is also the promoter of Singapore-based synthetic diamond manufacturer Type IIa Technologies. His son Vishal is the president of the International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA).