SA businessman arrested in Germany not subject to Interpol notice, legal team confirms

The legal team of SA businessman Zunaid Moti on Monday said they were "grateful to Interpol", after receiving confirmation that he is not subject to any Red Notice or Diffusion Notice.

Moti was placed under provisional arrest in August when he attempted to leave Germany.

READ: No court date set for controversial businessman Zunaid Moti

His lawyer at the time said Moti's detention came pursuant to a diffusion notice issued by Russian authorities on January 24, 2018, "which notice has not been authorised and vetted by Interpol's general secretariat".

"This has been a long wait, but Interpol have moved as quickly as their internal processes allow. Now that we have received these documents, our legal representatives will work closely with authorities to ensure that Interpol's confirmation is acknowledged within the ongoing legal process in Germany," his lawyer Ulrich Roux confirmed to News24.

"For the time being, Mr Moti will remain in Germany, but we trust that this situation can now be resolved swiftly."

Bogus mining deal

An Interpol "red notice", which shows that a person is wanted based on an arrest warrant or equivalent judicial decision, was previously issued for Moti.

A diffusion is an alert to law enforcement authorities that another country seeks to arrest a specific person.

The businessman was accused of defrauding Russian citizen Alibek Issaev out of several million rand in an alleged bogus mining deal in Lebanon in 2013.

News24 previously reported that Moti had forwarded evidence to authorities to show he had never set foot in Lebanon.

The businessman was also accused of stealing a rare R500m pink diamond.

Following his client's arrest, Roux said that, since August 2017, Moti had been subject to a "litany of spurious and fraudulent claims" made by a member of the "Russian Mafia" who was currently living in Dubai.

He said there was a directive that all data on Moti on Interpol's system was to be blocked, but the Russian notice "circumvented" that.

Roux claimed the charges that form the basis of the diffusion notice were "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".

Roux at the time said Moti had received official documents that there was no "red notice", and that his name was not included on searches of outstanding warrants.

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