Zunaid Moti locked up in Munich prison, Ramaphosa ‘hands tied’

Businessman Zunaid Moti. Picture: ANA

The arrest was connected to a “red notice” issued by Interpol last year after a complaint was lodged by Russian businessman and former business partner Alibek Issaev.

Controversial South African businessman Zunaid Moti is currently locked up in a prison in Munich, Germany after being arrested last weekend on the strength of an Interpol warrant.

According to Zunaid Moti’s father, Abbas Moti, he was arrested at Munich airport on August 19 when he was leaving Germany after a business trip.

Zunaid has interests in mining, finance, and logistics in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and counts the likes of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and British peer Peter Hain as his friends.

Abbas said that as he understood it his son was facing extradition to Russia to face criminal charges. The arrest was connected to a “red notice” after a complaint was lodged by Issaev.

Issaev claimed that Zunaid Moti and his associates, including Abbas, defrauded him in a sham mining deal in Lebanon in 2013.

Zunaid has consistently denied having been to Lebanon and claims that Issaev instead stole intellectual property and a R500 million pink diamond from him. The other two business associates are Ashruf Kaka and Salim Bobat.

Zunaid has been fighting the warrant since August 2017. He told the Financial Mail earlier this month that he had been removed from the Interpol list after making representations at the Interpol offices in Lyon, France.

Zunaid operates under the name of the Moti Group of Companies. However, his main business vehicle is known as Andulela Investment Holdings Limited, of which Kaka is the CEO. Bobat is an advisor to the group.

Speaking to African News Agency (ANA) on Saturday afternoon, Abbas Moti said, “It’s true. We are defending it now. We want to have him out [of jail] by Monday. We are fighting the extradition. We don’t want to get into Russia and fight this. We will defend it in Germany.”

He said he expected the process to take two weeks and had enlisted the help of lawyers in the United Kingdom and Sweden.They had been fighting the extradition since his son’s arrest. He said Zunaid was in good health and that the Munich prison where he was being held was “five star” compared to South African jails. “He isn’t allowed in court and must sign all documents while in jail.”

Zunaid was arrested in front of his children, who are still in Germany, he said. “I’ve told the children to make it a holiday. I will be travelling to Germany next week, but I will be going through the South African embassy so they can’t incarcerate me. If he had known of the notice he would have made the correct arrangements, but he was not aware. No notice was sent to our lawyers,” said Abbasi.

Asked whether he has turned to friends in political positions to help, Abbas said he had contacted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa “who I have a good relationship with”, but was told by Ramaphosa that his “hands are tied”.

“As far as we are aware the German authorities are to hold Zunaid for 40 days while the arrangements for his extradition to Russia are made,” said Abbas.

Headquartered in Sandton. The Moti Group has a relationship with Rustenburg Platinum, a subsidiary of Anglo Platinum, as well as a long-term relationship with Glencore regarding chrome beneficiation.

The company also has a chrome beneficiation operation in Zimbabwe called African Chrome Fields. Other interests include aviation, property development, and security services.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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