International arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi had helped Hasan Ali Khan open his account with UBS, Zurich, to use it to launder tainted money and for the Pune stud farm owner CHF (Swiss currency) 28.5 million was “petty cash” to buy a hotel in Switzerland.
Khan was acting as a ‘front man’ for Khashoggi, a persona-non-grata in Switzerland, and the Pune stud farm owner’s UBS account was used to park the arms dealer’s money, says the charge sheet filed yesterday under Prevention of Money Laundering Act by the Enforcement Directorate against Khan and Kolkata businessman Kashinath Tapuriah.
Black Prince - The secret code
The 950-page document quotes Tapuriah as having told them that Khashoggi had introduced Khan to the bank in 1982 and that the Kolkata businessman learnt from the manager of UBS Reto Hartmann that money deposited belonged to the arms dealer, who might have instructed Peter Weily, a former UBS employee and his portfolio manager, not to allow Khan to withdraw any amount above a particular limit.
Tapuriah also told the ED officials that once Khan had shown him the statement of account in 2005-2006 in Zurich having a balance of USD 2 bilion. Tapuriah told his interrogators that Khan had revealed to him the code to operate the account which was “Black Prince”.
It was on Peter Weily’s recommendation that Khan had effected the transfer of USD 300 million to Khashoggi’s account temporarily which the latter had returned to Khan’s UBS account. Khashoggi’s account in the U.S. from where the money was returned to Khan was later identified as tainted money following which Khan’ account was blocked by UBS.
According to Tapuriah, the charge sheet says, Khan knew of Khashoggi’s movement even while remaining in India.
The charge sheet says Philip Anandraj, an aide of Khan, has said in his statement that the Pune real estate consultant intended to buy Hotel Chateau Gutsch in Switzerland.
“Anandraj also confirmed that the UBS representatives had indeed made a statement regarding Khan’s ability to pay the proposed sale amount of CHF 28.5 million from his petty cash,” said ED.
According to ED, the deal for purchase of Chateau Gutsch in Lucerne was finalised and during the payment, UBS informed that USD 30 Crore had arrived with tagged comment, “Funds from Weapon Sales”.
In its chargesheet, the ED has said that Khan obtained passport from Patna on the forged and fabricated documents after entering into a conspiracy with Tapuriah and Bihar Congress politician Amlendu Pandey.
Tapuriah told ED that he arranged for Khan’s passport through Pandey after the stud farm owner informed him that his travel document was in court’s custody in Hyderabad because of which he could not operate his bank account with UBS, Zurich.
According to Pandey, Tapuriah told him to arrange a new passport for Khan from Patna and that he was aware that the stud farm owner already had a passport which had been seized.
In his statement, Pandey told ED that Tapuriah informed him that Khan was a “big person” and belonged to the family of Nizams of Hyderabad.
Pandey met the then Member of Parliament Iqbal Singh (now Lt. Governor of Pudducherry) and requested him for help in securing the passport. According to ED, Pandey said that Mr. Singh called someone in the Minstry of External Affairs and requested him to get the work done.
However, Mr. Singh during his questioning has denied knowing Khan and said that passport receipt number was given to him by Pandey who told him that Khan needed the travel document to meet his ailing brother abroad.
Khan, Tapuriah and Pandey travelled to Singapore for opening an account with Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) and operating the UBS account of Khan. The ED has also said that they were assisted by V. Vishwanath, an official of Swiss Bank Corporation, and SC Sharma , an associate of Tapuriah.
According to ED, Khan and Tapuriah have admitted that SBC account was initially used to route USD 75 million and in 2005 there were two more transactions of USD 11 million and USD 7 million from the company accounts of Tapuriah with Royal Bank of Luxembourg.
Khan, the charge sheet says, had a heated argument with Tapuriah when he found that the latter was using the Power of Attorney he had given him to operate the account after which the Kolkata businessman compensated him financially for using his account. Khan was also claimed to have admitted that the account was being used to launder money.
The charge sheet says a number of companies were established abroad by the duo who controlled their operations with persons based abroad. “Khan has been shown as Chairman of few of those companies and he has stated that these companies were being controlled by Tapuriah.”
“In respect of two companies in which Khan is the Chairman, Khan said that these had approximately US$ 1.2 billion in their UBS account in 2004-2005,” it said.
About the loss of one of the multiple passports of Khan in London, Tapuriah told ED that it was not lost but forcibly taken away by Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov.
The charge sheet is silent on Kerimov’s connections with Khan and why he seized his passport