‘Iqbal Mirchi floated 24 firms in UK, UAE, laundered ₹1K-cr’
His net spread to South America, Europe; agencies track down 16 UK, 5 UAE firmsUpdated: Nov 01, 2019, 09:55 IST
Late gangster Iqbal Mohammed Memon, alias Iqbal Mirchi, floated at least 24 companies in the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South America and Europe to launder more than Rs 1,000 crore and buy more than 51 properties, intelligence agencies have ascertained. The amount was generated from the 2010 sale of four prime properties, Rabia Mansion, Marium Lodge, Sea View and Samandar Mahal, in Worli.
Mirchi, who died in London in August 2013, was Dawood Ibrahim’s aide and handled Ibrahim’s narcotic business. In 2004, he was identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker (or Tier I drug kingpin) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act by the United States of America.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is currently investigating a case of money laundering that involves the sale of the four Worli properties. Soon after the Worli properties were sold, Mirchi allegedly invested in a building, which included a restaurant in North London, and later bought properties at Turner Street in London. The ill-gotten money was speedily and systematically invested in properties in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Cyprus, Turkey, Morocco, Spain and Australia through Mirchi’s many businesses, said sources.
Intelligence agencies have tracked 16 of Mirchi’s firms to the UK, while five are registered in the UAE and three are believed to be offshore companies. The key beneficiaries were Mirchi’s two sons, Junaid and Asif Memon, and his wife Hajra Memon, according to agencies.
Hindustan Times is in possession of email trails from 2010, 2012 and 2013 between Mirchi and his business associates as well as lawyers. In 2010, emails record his negotiation to bring the price of the Fallow Court property from 5 million Pounds (£) to £4.5 million. Mirchi went on to buy 14 properties in the UK, including nine flats and a penthouse at Richmond Road, a building with commercial and residential establishments in Roehampton and Dartford Hotel. Later, in 2012, Mirchi bought a building in London’s St Swithin’s Lane.
In 2012, he also bought properties in Queensland (Australia) and Massey (New Zealand). A month before his death in 2013, Mirchi bought nine plots in Turkey’s Aydin province for £7,38,000. In India, Mirchi bought 72 guntas of land at Mahabaleshwar and bungalows in Pangaari, Satara, in 2012.
Intelligence agencies are now verifying at least nine fixed accounts that Hajra Memon holds in Bank of India; three accounts at Bank of India held by Junaid in addition to multiple accounts in branches of Lloyds Bank in the UK (owned by Junaid and Asif), as well as accounts in Habib Bank and HSBC Bank. A prominent real estate group from Mumbai is also being investigated as part of the probe.