Hasan Ali Khan: Wikis

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Hasan Ali Khan or Syed mohammed Hassan Ali Khan[1] is a 56-year-old stud-farm owner allegedly worth USD 8-9 billion or more according to police-authorities. Some news-sources claim that he might be the fourth richest person in India, surpassing even software czar Azim Premji.[2].

Disclosing the list of defaulters in the Rajya Sabha on 4th August 2009, the Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam said in a written reply that Hassan Ali Khan tops the list of tax defaulters with an outstanding arrear of more than Rs 50,000 crore. [3] Former Union Minister and BJP MP Arun Shourie said that Ali Khan has been known to be connected to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, known to have been channeling very large amounts from unknown sources into the Indian stock market and had 8 to 9 billion dollars in the UBS and other banks of Switzerland, and has been responsible for hawala transactions of over Rs. 35,000 crore through Swiss banks.[4] When asked if Hassan Ali is likely to be arrested, India Today editor Prabhu Chawla said that he doesn't "have much hope" citing that getting Swiss banks to disclose details is not easy as India hasn't signed a treaty with the Swiss government.[5]

Contents

Claims and allegations

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Money laundering

Officers in investigating agencies in India claimed that this stud farm owner could be the latest unknown rich businessman on the block. His wealth is said to be in the region of anything between USD 8-9 billion or much more, and most of it unaccounted[6]. He allegedly stashed US$ 8 billion in his Swiss bank accounts (mostly in UBS[7][8]) through money-laundering. His wife Reema and her brother Faisal Abbas have allegedly helped him hide since 2007. Philip Anandraj has received an order for the release of his passport from the Mumbai special court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) last week, this was further enhanced by the High Court in Mumbai. The HC has told authorities to hand over Anandaraj's passport by December 7th. Khan's lawyer Majid Memon said "his client was not in touch with him" as of 17 August 2008[9]. He was a Pune-resident and horse trading circles describe him as a smart punter but a small time horse owner[10]. Some newspaper-reports cite that total Indian black money is around US$1,410 billion [11][12][13][14]

Along with his partner Kashinath Tapuriah, Ali allegedly opened two fictitious companies Autumn Holdings and Paysons in the Virgin Islands and laundered money to the tune of US $280 million.[15]

A year after he was raided, the US $8 billion man still roams free i.e. he has not been arrested till date.[16]

The reluctance of these top Swiss banks mentioned above to help Indian investigators is slowing the unravelling of an intricate multinational trail of money transfers—across Switzerland, New York, the British Virgin Islands and Pune—between an Indian horse owner and a fugitive Saudi arms dealer, according to officials in the Enforcement Directorate, the government body that investigates economic crimes. Investigators from the ED, who recently claim to have found $8 billion in the Swiss bank accounts of Hasan Ali Khan, say they now have evidence of a $300 million transfer to him (via a Chase Manhattan bank account in New York) from billionaire Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, whose arms supplies to Tamil terrorists, the LTTE, were revealed during an investigation into the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The government has told the Bombay high court that the Khans are “virtually absconding” and if they are allowed to leave India, investigations could collapse. Khan’s counsel, Milind Sathe, said his client “regularly appeared before the Directorate”. Asked where Khan was, his main lawyer, Mugdha Jadhav, said: “Can’t tell you, sorry.” [17]

Other allegations

Police sources in Hyderabad aver that he had also laid hands on some jewellery of the family of Nizams and siphoned them off. "There is no police complaint on this because much of the Nizam's riches have gone missing over the years," sources said. The value of the jewellery he pilfered is not known and neither the parties that he sold them to.[18]

He has 10 cases lodged against him ,ranging from cheating to con games to extortion. There a case of in which he is suspected of throwing, or arranging to throw acid on a paediatrician Dr. P Niranjan Rao of Punjagutta in Hyderabad. By the time he got into the havala business, he was a well known but shady figure.[19]

His first hawala operation came unstuck. He was tasked to get back into the country monies of a deadman locked up in a Singapore bank. Though he failed he came in contact with a bigger operator called Kanti Das Tapadia (sic).[20]

Adnan Khashoggi transferred US $300 million from his Chase Manhattan Bank account in New York into Hassan Ali's United Bank of Switzerland account in Zurich. The Swiss authorities froze the account saying that the Funds were from weapons sale. Ali and his close associate Kashinath Tapuriah then adopted different techniques to try and make this account operational. The link to Khashoggi adds a new dimension to the investigation into Ali. Khashoggi is known in India as one of those named in the Jain Commisison of enquiry into the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination and globally for brokering arms deals between the US and Saudi Arabia. Investigators say that this only convinces them of Ali's wide range of operations and contacts.[21]

Convictions and court-cases

The oldest case against Hasan Ali pertained to an acid attack on a doctor, his neighbour, in 1984. Dr P Niranjan Rao's face was disfigured and he had to undergo 30 surgeries. Since the police could not trace the records relating to the case, it is not clear whether Hasan Ali was arrested and acquitted in this case.[22]

Khan was arrested, convicted, but subsequently acquitted in some bank-fraud and similar fraud cases amounting to Rs. 2 crore (USD 500,000) in the early 1990s.[23] What happened: In 1990, the manager of State Bank of India, Charminar branch, had lodged a complaint stating that Hasan Ali had fraudulently withdrawn a total of Rs 26 lakh on three occasions against cheques that later bounced. A similar case was lodged for defrauding the Grindlays Bank. In September 1991, the central government had announced an amnesty scheme wherein it allowed Indian citizens to get foreign exchange from outside. Subsequently at least four persons approached Hasan Ali, who promised them demand drafts in dollars. He had allegedly collected Rs 10.35 lakh from Suresh Mehta, Rs 6.29 lakh from Rajesh Gupta, Rs 36 lakh from T Ramnath and Rs 18.22 lakh from P Rama Koteswara Rao. He then produced 'international money orders' and handed over demand drafts to them to encash the dollars. However, the customers found the DDs to be fake and lodged complaints with the police in 1992. He was subsequently acquitted and a police commissioner said, "No case is pending against him as all the previous cases were disposed of by the courts."[24]

Khan now faces a whooping Rs 1 L cr fine for acquiring Rs 36000 crores or more in assets[25][26].

Biography

Hailing from a Hyderabadi family based at Musheerabad, Hasan Ali has a brother and four sisters.[27] Born in 1953 and brought up in Hyderabad, Khan lived with his wife Mahbooba Khan in the posh Banjara Hills before he divorced her and shifted to Pune 10 years ago after marrying his present wife Rheema, sister of a horse-trainer, Faisal Abbas. The couple have a six-year-old son. Better known in the racing circles as H.A. Khan, he owns 10 horses, besides two floors in the swanky Tulip Apartments of Valentina Society in Pune's Koregaon Park and a flat in Anand Darshan building in the upmarket Peddar Road in Mumbai. He also owns two Mercedes and a Porsche.[28]

Come horse-racing season, and Khan would shuttle between Pune and Mumbai. A pastime associated with the rich and famous, horse-racing was Khan's obsession as well, though he was not inclined to hobnob with the glitterati of the race course. A rather quaint figure, he could be seen occupying the last corner seats with wife Rheema. Even his horses gave the spotlight a miss, garnering only a few second-rung trophies. Khan's routine at the race course was without deviation. Fitted out in his trademark Safari suit, he would reach sharp at 11 am and leave by 3 pm. For someone who the i-t Department claims enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle, Khan wasn't even famous within the racing circles. "Of our members, he kept the most low profile, preferring not to interact with anyone," says Vivek Jain, committee member of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) at Mumbai. Low-key in life, he displayed a modest taste when acquiring thoroughbreds, opting for the comparatively cheap grade four variety priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 1 lakh. He did not own any stud farm, instead preferring to pay maintenance charges of Rs 15,000 per horse to the RWITC and the Pune Turf Club. Jain finds it incredible that he could have made money through betting. If not betting, then what? That's the question dogging the I-T Department.[29]


Swiss connections of the horse-owner came to light during raids at his Pune and Mumbai residences between January 5 and 7 by the Income Tax (I-T) Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). A laptop seized from the Mumbai address, together with Rs 85 lakh in cash, sent the 53-year-old Khan scurrying to Pune's Jehangir Hospital with severe chest pain. Not surprising, considering the laptop contained a list of 10 Swiss Bank accounts reportedly stashed with over Rs 20,000 crore-all of it unaccounted for. According to I-T sources, the money came from hawala transactions Khan conducted for politicians and businessmen. "He was a hawala operator who shipped funds abroad to countries like Mauritius and Madagascar and then re-routed the money to India through bogus companies in order to evade tax," an official said, requesting anonymity. Links with terrorists and the underworld are also not being ruled out. The cash, it is suspected, was being parked by Arabs who, after the 9/11 World Trade Center bombings, were finding it difficult to invest with European and UK banks.[30]

Personal life

Hailing from a Hyderabadi family based at Musheerabad, Hasan Ali has a brother and four sisters. His father was an excise-officer. He married his first wife Mahboobunnissa Begum (the mother of the children for whom he was a tuition teacher)[31] in 1985 but divorced her in 1999. Mahboobunnissa now lives with her two sons at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.[32] One son, Sami Khan , has turned into a professional model and is doing quite well.[33][34] He later married his current wife Rheema Khan (the daughter of a horse trainer: Abbas A Abbas), who is also said to have offshore banking accounts.[35]

Small beginnings to commanding heights

Khan has an unsavoury past. This is going by his record in Hyderabad, where he lived till the mid-nineties. There are two sparingly varying accounts:

  • According to Khan’s account to investigating agencies, his father was an excise officer in Hyderabad, where Khan studied till Class 12, and went on to sell antiques, claiming to be a descendant of the Nizam’s family. He then started a car rental service in 1970, before switching, in 1988, to a metal trading business in Dubai. Khan said this business, called Great Ventures, closed down in 1993. Meanwhile, Khan entered the world of horse racing in Hyderabad in 1991 with only two horses. Then in 1994, he began racing at Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi racecourse, where he also was a punter. Soon, he expanded his horse racing activities to Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi. Police say his horses even began racing in Switzerland and London. Khan has reportedly won four races and was also a member of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), Pune. According to Imtiyaz Sait, a trainer at the RWITC, Khan used to sit alone in a corner of the members’ enclosure at the racecourse. “None of us knew him well. He kept to himself,” Sait said. Many of his other ventures were failures. After closing down the car rental and then a scrap business, Khan started a jewellery shop in Kuwait in partnership with a man called Hussain from Jammu and Kashmir in 2006-07. Pune Police say they interrogated Khan in March 2007 soon after his name appeared in the media for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore hawala racket. [36]
  • According to other people’s account to investigating agencies, as his family had fallen on bad times in the 1970s, he started out as a tuitions teacher but subsequently started cheating people and banks. He was also a suspect in a case of throwing acid on a doctor in the city and in a hawala racket case. From being a trickster, he graduated to be a cheat and then a bank scamster. From there he became a hawala operator and ultimately an international money laundering racketeer, people who have known him in Hyderabad told TOI. People who know him from the 70s said his family had fallen on bad times and he had begun giving tuitions.[37]

From a humble beginning as a punter at the Mahalaxmi race course in Mumbai, Khan soon became a horse owner and was even involved in several failed ventures: a travel agency, a car-wash plant that never took off, a metal trading company named Great Ventures that went bankrupt and a business in selling artefacts. When trading in artefacts, he would claim to be a descendent of the royal Nizams and try to pass off white marble statues from Makrana of recent origin as antiques. His legally viable ventures would inevitably perish. It was during this time that Khan came in contact with Kashinath Tapadia, son-in-law of the late Priyamvada Birla of the Birla business house. I-T sources, who have also questioned Tapadia, claim the duo ran the hawala business as partners and the money was routed through Tapadia to the beneficiaries. The two also allegedly donned the mantle of invisible investors in Indian equity markets. Sources say Khan used Participatory notes to invest in the capital and commodity markets. (Participatory notes can be traded like stocks and sold as notes. These transactions are, at times, untraceable.) Among his close associates was hotelier Phillip Anandraj, who owns the Korma Sutra in Zurich. Anandraj, who was interrogated by the ED, is known for his political connections and, say sources, could have been involved in the hawala racket. [38]

Khan first opened an account with UBS Singapore in 1982 with just $1.5 million and after some time received $300m in this account allegedly from Khashoggi’s Chase Manhattan bank account in New York. Why this bank-transfer was made is unknown [39] Khan has been given one month’s time to reply to a show-cause notice to explain how his funds grew from an initial deposit of $1.5 million in 1982 to a balance of $8 billion by 2006.[40]

Relationship with Adnan Khashoggi

The ED has traced Khan’s alleged transaction with Adnan Khashoggi through a notarized statement of Khan signed on 29 June, 2003 in London. The document contains a letter written by Khan to Prabhu Guptara, director, Organizational Development, Woflsberg Executive Development Centre, Switzerland (a subsidiary of UBS), explaining why one of his Swiss accounts had been tagged with the remark: ‘Funds from weapons sales’, and had been made inoperable. The letter explained the circumstances in which Khan first opened an account with UBS Singapore in 1982 with $1.5 million, through Retro Hartmann of UBS Singapore and then how allegedly Dr Peter Weilly, porfolio manager of Khashoggi, virtually took over as his manager. Khan had received $300m in this account allegedly from Khashoggi’s Chase Manhattan bank account in New York. After the document was notarized by a UK notary on June 29, 2003, Khan seems to have allegedly reported his Indian passport as lost in London and acquired a new passport there. A copy of the first page of the old passport is enclosed with the notarised document. The probe has also thrown up ‘evidence’ against Khan’s associate Kashinath Tapuria, who has said that two politicians, one of them a senior Congressman, had referred Khan to him during his days of financial difficulties.[41]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.articlearchives.com/crime-law-enforcement-corrections/criminal-offenses/1803374-1.html
  2. ^ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/unknown-indian-is-billionaire-no-4/35523-3.html
  3. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/Economy/Finance/SBI-Tata-Motors-Sahara-figure-in-top-100-tax-defaulters-list/articleshow/4857035.cms
  4. ^ http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/3196980-hassan-ali-khan-episode-exposed-upa-character-arun-shourie
  5. ^ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/AskPrabhuStory?Qid=70012
  6. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1738500.cms
  7. ^ ED goes slow on Hassan arrest (including his photograph)
  8. ^ http://www.livemint.com/2008/02/02001510/UBS-deal-died-over-unexplained.html
  9. ^ Hassan Ali trail: Worli police hunt for wife, bro-in-law, Times of India, 17 Aug 2008
  10. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1738500.cms
  11. ^ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/ed-sends-show-cause-notice-to-pune-tycoon/81733-3.html
  12. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/LATEST-NEWS/Pune-tycoon-may-face-Rs-1-L-cr-fine-for-acquiring-Rs-36000-cr/articleshow/3917046.cms
  13. ^ http://sites.google.com/site/hindunew/recovering-looted-wealth
  14. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinions/3917046.cms
  15. ^ http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080040040&ch=2/1/2008%2011:47:00%20AM
  16. ^ http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080040040&ch=2/1/2008%2011:47:00%20AM
  17. ^ http://www.livemint.com/2008/02/02001510/UBS-deal-died-over-unexplained.html
  18. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/times-of-india-the/mi_8012/is_20070311/hassan-ali-nizam-jewel-thief/ai_n39437877/
  19. ^ http://www.gunaah.com/index.php?id=46&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=205&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=4edfbc0c2e
  20. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/times-of-india-the/mi_8012/is_20070311/hassan-ali-nizam-jewel-thief/ai_n39437877/
  21. ^ http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080040040&ch=2/1/2008%2011:47:00%20AM
  22. ^ http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/mar/13ali.htm
  23. ^ http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-case-against-hassan-ali-in-andhra-police/25595/
  24. ^ http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/mar/13ali.htm
  25. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/LATEST-NEWS/Pune-tycoon-may-face-Rs-1-L-cr-fine-for-acquiring-Rs-36000-cr/articleshow/3917046.cms
  26. ^ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pune-businessman-faces-rs-1-lakh-cr-as-fine/81691-3.html
  27. ^ http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/mar/13ali.htm
  28. ^ http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20070326/nation.html
  29. ^ http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20070326/nation.html
  30. ^ http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20070326/nation.html
  31. ^ http://www.gunaah.com/index.php?id=46&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=205&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=4edfbc0c2e
  32. ^ http://specials.rediff.com/news/2007/mar/13ali.htm
  33. ^ http://www.indergopal.com/pages/model/model-folio/modl-resources.html
  34. ^ http://www.perfspot.com/profile.asp?uid=53054AAE-3A88-457F-A549-DD743AFE8A90
  35. ^ http://www.gunaah.com/index.php?id=46&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=205&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=4edfbc0c2e
  36. ^ http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mystery-millionaire/414865/0
  37. ^ http://www.articlearchives.com/crime-law-enforcement-corrections/criminal-offenses/1803374-1.html
  38. ^ http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20070326/nation.html
  39. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/LATEST-NEWS/Pune-tycoon-may-face-Rs-1-L-cr-fine-for-acquiring-Rs-36000-cr/articleshow/3917046.cms
  40. ^ http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mystery-millionaire/414865/0
  41. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/LATEST-NEWS/Pune-tycoon-may-face-Rs-1-L-cr-fine-for-acquiring-Rs-36000-cr/articleshow/3917046.cms

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