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Jyoti And Kiran Matheroo, Toronto Sisters, Arrested In Nigeria Over Sex Extortion Scandal


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  • 4 years later...

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/style/the-canadian-kardashians.html

 

How to Date a Lot of Billionaires

Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo sought fame on social media by flaunting what nature — and men — gave them. Then they got locked up abroad.

By Dan Levin

  • Nov. 10, 2018

After years of romances with a series of fabulously wealthy Nigerian boyfriends, the flamboyant Canadian sisters Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo needed somewhere to store the pricey spoils of their dating careers. So they converted a bedroom in their Toronto home into a large walk-in closet that resembles a luxury boutique.

An entire wall is lined with more than 70 pairs of designer high-heeled shoes. Glass wardrobes display dozens of handbags and purses from brands like Hermès, Celine, Gucci and Saint Laurent. Equally pricey clothing drapes tightly from hangers and fills trunks stacked up to the ceiling.

There are separate drawers for belts, rings, earrings, bracelets, silver necklaces and gold ones. They own a collection of rose gold and diamond-encrusted watches easily worth several cars. And the white Mercedes-Benz sedan parked outside? It’s their third paid for by a wealthy paramour, they said.

Did they even pay for any of this stuff? “Not really, no,” said Jyoti, 34. Her sister responded similarly. “The only time I go shopping is when someone gives me their credit card,” said Kiran, 32.

 

Armed with this luxury haul, the Matharoos have tried to copy the modern art of idle glamour pioneered by Paris Hilton and perfected by Kim Kardashian West. They followed the playbook so effectively that they are sometimes called the “Canadian Kardashians” for their devotion to spandex bodysuits, private jet travel, Christian Louboutin and social media.

But if their reality-television muses are famous for being shamelessly rich, the Matharoos became notorious after their unapologetic pursuit of material excess backfired, exploding into a messy international scandal involving one of the world’s richest men, a salacious gossip website, stints in Nigerian and Italian custody, and a battle to clear their names with Interpol, the global police organization.

‘It All Happened So Fast’

The Matharoo sisters never intended to become a cautionary tale about the perils of social media influence. They were born and raised in Toronto, by middle-class parents who had immigrated from India. The sisters’ lives changed abruptly 10 years ago, when Jyoti, fresh out of college, met a Nigerian petroleum magnate.

“He’s not a rapper with expensive watches,” said Jyoti. “It’s generations and generations of money.”

He flew both sisters on private jets to France and Greece and eventually to Nigeria, a destination they did not disclose to their strict parents. Upon landing, a convoy of Mercedes-Benz G-Class S.U.V.s drove them to his home, a heavily marbled mansion with a pool and a litany of servants. Kiran lazed away poolside while Jyoti accompanied her lover to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to play polo with a prince.

“It all happened so fast,” Jyoti said. “There wasn’t even a moment for us to be like, ‘Is this really happening?’”

Within a few months, she said, he bought her a condominium in Toronto and began giving her a monthly $10,000 stipend so she would not have to work.

This affair was not to be a forever love, though. Over the years, the sisters globe-trotted with a succession of paramours. In particular, both sisters traveled frequently to Nigeria and said that dating wealthy men there was easy. “Once they find out you have a sister, it’s over,” Kiran said. “We don’t find them. They find us.”

 

They also began to document their lavish adventures on social media: yachting in the Bahamas, shopping sprees in Paris and Dubai, flying on private jets and sunbathing in Saint- Tropez and Spain. In the photos, they are invariably adorned in swag — Hermès handbags, shoes by Alaïa, watches by Audemars Piguet.

Neither would say exactly how many billionaires they had dated. “If you say more than one, you’re automatically considered a gold digger,” said Jyoti, though she admitted that the number is higher than one. “I’m attracted by the power of who they are, what they do and what position they are on the Forbes billionaire list.”

Kiran described herself as an old-fashioned girl who simply likes to be courted. “If you want to date me, you have to spoil me,” she said.

 
 
 
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Jyoti Matharoo checks her phone in a Walmart parking lot.Credit...Tara Walton for The New York Times

In brandishing this high-end brand of pampered independence, the sisters seemed to delight in rejecting society’s expectations of women’s roles. “Marriage and alimony are acceptable, but being single and letting a guy give you things is not,” Jyoti said. “You have to own it. I don’t feel like I’m a piece of property.”

The Matharoos’ growing notoriety, fueled largely by Instagram, made them particular favorites of Nigeria’s gossip blogs, which tracked their rumored relationships with the sort of savage coverage normally reserved for troubled royals. “Indian twin-menace: Nigeria’s most promiscuous sisters,” one headline declared in 2016: “Why billionaire housewives dread them.”

The sisters received more scorn from social media commenters.

“The road to Hell is paved with Birkin bags, promiscuity, sloth, Instagram photos, and vanity,” a commenter posted on a gossip blog thread entitled “High Paid Escorts/Prostitutes: Jyoti & Kiran Matharoo.” This thread runs for 220 pages — “more than some celebrities,” Kiran said, with pride.

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