Hasan Ali Khan and his close associate Kashinath Tapuria , both of whom are presently in judicial custody in connection with the Enforcement Directorate’s probe into the black money trail, have admitted to their close links with Adnan Khashoggi , the notorious Saudi arms dealer. Khashoggi is also alleged to have links with outfits which carried out the 9/11 terror attack in the US.
During his interrogation with the Enforcement Directorate, Khan, in fact, is learnt to have described Khashoggi as “a friend”. Tapuria too is said to have confirmed his (Khan’s) links with the Saudi arms dealer.
As the Enforcement Directorate’s probe into the black money trail gathers pace, a vast and extensive international network – comprising arms dealers, business tycoons, mafia and narco-peddlers, besides sundry politicians and bureaucrats – is being unraveled. Both Khashoggi and Suleiman Kerimov, the Russian businessman alleged to have a close nexus with the local mafia, used the skills, expertise and network of the Khan-Tapuria duo to divert funds in the global market.
The Enforcement Directorate first stumbled upon Khan’s association with Khashoggi when, during its investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in early 2009, it recovered a document which showed that the Pune-based realtor had close connections with the Saudi businessman and the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS). Owing to his notoriety and negative image, Khashoggi, it was said, could not open his accounts in Swiss banks. This is where Hasan Ali Khan came into the picture. He helped the Saudi wheeler-dealer siphon off funds through his own accounts.
The document, it later turns out, was drafted in 2003, duly notarised in London by Khan, and later delivered to, official sources said, a senior UBS official. The document spoke of Khan’s close relations with Khashoggi (described as “a friend”), and said that funds had to be moved to the latter’s accounts.
Armed with the document, the ED subsequently approached the British authorities to confirm its authenticity and genuineness. Its efforts soon bore fruit as the latter confirmed its existence.
The Enforcement Directorate achieved a major breakthrough in this direction in April 2010, when the US informed it that 7,00,000 dollars had been moved from Khan’s account in Sarasin Bank, another Switzerland-based bank, to an account in Barclay’s Bank, London.
The ED’s efforts paid off when, during his interrogation in February, Khan accepted the genuineness of the document, his account in the UBS and his close ties with Khashoggi. Earlier in September 2010, Tapuria too had confirmed the Khan-Khashoggi nexus. Both Khan and Tapuria are said to have earned commission worth $5-10 million from Khashoggi and Kerimov for moving their funds internationally. Economic Times