The Interpol has issued red notices against four Indian-origin businessmen in South Africa following a legal spat over a Rs 2.5-billion rare pink diamond with a Russian telecommunications magnate and a local diamond dealer amid intriguing claims and counter claims of theft. Zunaid Moti, his father Abbas Aboo Baker Moti and their associates Ashruf Kaka and Salim Bobat, have approached the Pretoria High Court to fight the red notices as the two-year- long tripartite legal battle plays out in courts in France, Lebanon, Zimbabwe and Dubai, The Times reported today.
A red notice is an international alert by Interpol seeking the location and arrest of a wanted person for extradition. The four men have asked the local court to interdict the execution of the Interpol warrants, claiming that the papers were obtained fraudulently by Russian businessman Alibek Issaev, who alleges that the four stole the diamond from him. They in turn have accused Issaev, a former partner in one of their businesses in South Africa, of stealing the diamond from them on the pretext of having a buyer for it in Russia. But in a growing intrigue, international diamond dealer Sylla Moussa has accused the Indian-origin men of stealing the same diamond from him in 2003.
Kaka said he and his associates had a letter of surety from Moussa that he had given the diamond to them as payment for a debt.
Kaka told the daily that the Interpol warrants issued by the Lebanese authorities were based on fraudulent charges brought against them by Issaev in retaliation for an Interpol arrest warrant they had secured against him for a business deal that went wrong in Zimbabwe. A private investigator hired by Kaka and his associates, Paul O’Sullivan, confirmed that none of his clients had ever been to Lebanon.
The court has been urged to defer the warrants “pending the outcome of our matter with Interpol’s oversight body in Lyon and the court cases which we have running in Lebanon, where we are challenging the original arrest warrants, Zimbabwe and Dubai.”
South African police and judicial authorities confirmed no warrants or extradition notices for the four businessmen had been received yet.