Durban – Reports that Zunaid Moti had failed in his second bid for bail in Munich, Germany, were inaccurate, the controversial businessman’s father said on Monday.
Online news reports, some of them from Zimbabwe, said that Moti had been denied bail and now faced extradition to Russia.
Moti was placed under provisional arrest on 19 August at Munich Airport following a Diffusion Notice being issued by Russian authorities on 24 January. He was on a business trip at the time, according to his family.
Speaking to African News Agency on Monday morning, the jailed businessman's father, Dr. Abbas Moti, said it was “a rumour” that his son had lost his bail bid. Dr. Moti said he would be willing to comment “at the end of the week”.
In 2017, Russian businessman and Moti’s former business partner, Alibek Issaev, was responsible for an Interpol-issued Red Notice through Lebanese authorities when he claimed the businessman, his father Dr. Moti and associates Ashruf Kaka and Salim Bobat defrauded him of millions in a mining deal in Lebanon in 2013.
The men claimed the arrest warrants were obtained on the strength of falsified information. A weekend newspaper reported that Moti denied ever having been to Lebanon and instead claimed Issaev stole a R500m pink diamond and other property from him.
Interpol’s website, explains that a “Diffusion Notice” is similar to the more commonly known “Red Notice” circulated to all members. The former is less formal and is circulated directly by an Interpol member country’s National Central Bureau (NCB) to the member countries of their choice.
Moti's lawyer, Ulrich Roux, did not respond to messages from ANA on Monday. However, in a statement issued following his client’s arrest in August, Roux said that Moti had been “subject to a litany of spurious and fraudulent claims made by a known member of the Russian Mafia, who lives in Dubai”.
Roux said the Lebanese Red Notice was “blocked” on 15 December 2017 through a directive by the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files (CCF) and that the manner in which the Russians issued the Diffusion Notice “circumvented the CCF's directive and … [Interpol’s] … General Secretariat's control measures”.
“The alleged charges that form the basis of the Diffusion Notice are evidently a complete fabrication and part of a continued stratagem adopted by the Russian Mafia to extort payment by Mr. Moti's of substantial sums of money,” said Roux.
He said Moti's legal representatives in Germany, Russia, and South Africa were “raising questions about the validity and execution of the Diffusion Notice”.
Roux said the Diffusion Notice was issued to various countries including South Africa, the UK, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe.
Moti has interests in mining, finance, and logistics in South Africa and Zimbabwe and counts the likes of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and British peer, Lord Peter Hain, as his friends.
African News Agency (ANA)