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IPL founder Modi denies deceit during London court fight with venture capitalist

Lalit Modi, a businessman who founded the Indian Premier League cricket, arrives at the Rolls Building at the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Lalit Modi, a businessman who founded the Indian Premier League cricket, arrives at the Rolls Building at the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A businessman who founded the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket competition has “emphatically denied” deceit allegations after becoming embroiled in a High Court fight in London over millions of pounds with a venture capitalist.

Lalit Modi has been sued by former model Gurpreet Gill Maag and Quantum Care, a company she runs.

Judge Murray Rosen is hearing evidence at a trial in London due to end next week.

Mrs Maag wants damages after investing nearly £750,000 (a million US dollars) into a healthcare company called Ion Care which Mr Modi was behind.

Gurpreet Gill Maag arrives at the Rolls Building at the High Court in London
Gurpreet Gill Maag arrives at the Rolls Building at the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

She is alleging “fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract”.

Mrs Maag says she invested after Mr Modi “represented” to her that the Duke of York was among several high-profile people who were “patrons” of Ion Care – which offered cancer treatment.

She has told the judge that the King and Queen of Spain – Felipe VI and Queen Letizia – were also included as “patrons” in an investor “pitch”.

In a written witness statement, Mrs Maag said: “Lalit said that Prince Andrew was very dear friend, with whom he commonly interacted.

“Lalit led me to believe, and I did believe – and indeed was impressed – that these very influential people had already agreed to be involved in ION Care.”

She said celebrities including footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis player Roger Federer were also referred to, and added: “Lalit referred to these individuals as being Ion Care’s ‘brand ambassadors’.”

Mrs Maag says she later found out that Mr Modi had made “false statements in relation to the so-called patrons”.

She is claiming nearly £600,000 (800,000 US dollars) as “damages for deceit”, based on “misrepresentations” alleged to have been made by Mr Modi during a meeting.

Quantum also wants to recover “substantial sums” in respect of “consequential losses” – returns Mrs Maag says would have been received on investments.

Lawyers say millions of pounds are at stake.

Lalit Modi, a businessman who founded the Indian Premier League cricket, arrives at the Rolls Building at the High Court in London
Lalit Modi, a businessman who founded the Indian Premier League cricket, arrives at the Rolls Building at the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Mr Modi says Mrs Maag’s case is “insuperably weak”.

“In relation to most of the alleged representations, the claimants cannot establish to the requisite degree of specificity what representations were in fact made by the defendant, because they have no contemporaneous record of them,” Jonathan Price QC, who is leading Mr Modi’s legal team, told the judge.

“The allegations of deceit are emphatically denied by the defendant.

“The defendant’s case is straightforward.

“The alleged representations were not made in the manner alleged, and in any event, he did not intend for them to be relied upon by claimants in investing in Ion Care.”

Both Mr Modi, who is Indian and lives in London, and Mrs Maag, who is Indian and lives in Singapore, were at the hearing on Friday.

Anna Dilnot QC, who is leading Mrs Maag’s legal team, told the judge in a written case outline that “patrons” identified in an investor deck were “the King and Queen of Spain, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the wife of the Prime Minister of the UAE, HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Prince Andrew Duke of York and Kofi Annan (former Secretary General of the UN)”.

Miss Dilnot said Mrs Maag’s evidence was that Mr Modi said “a number of well-known and influential individuals” had agreed to act as “patrons” of Ion Care and made financial commitments amounting to nearly £200 million.

She said a spokeswoman for Andrew had last year said he had never been a patron of Ion Care.

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