[imagesource: Supplied by Moti family]
The Moti family survived an unimaginable ordeal last year when four brothers – Zidan, Zayyad, Alaan, and Zia – were kidnapped en route to school in Polokwane.
The boys were eventually returned with multiple sources stating that the family had paid a R50 million ransom, R45 million of which was paid in cash and the rest in diamonds.
We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this was incredibly traumatic for the entire family, but new developments in the investigation have unearthed some interesting information.
To start, City Press is reporting on claims involving “shady money transfers. Suspected tax evasion. Sibling rivalry. Kidnapping. A multimillion-rand ransom. Double-crossing. Murder. A dramatic escape from South Africa to Dubai.”
The Moti family has confirmed that they have left the country, issuing a statement over the weekend.
Back to those claims we go:
Police investigating the matter confirmed that the family – who have since relocated to Dubai – refused to cooperate in the investigation, raising suspicions that there was more to the kidnapping than initially met the eye…
Police now believe that the kidnapping may have been an act of revenge by an aggrieved party in a complex illicit money transfer deal that went wrong.
Police have carried out a raid on the family’s home in Polokwane and suspect that the R40 million allegedly paid in cash may have been derived from a criminal offence, with a dodgy money transfer system used to evade detection.
It’s alleged there was a double-crossing and the R40 million never actually reached the intended target:
The transfer had allegedly been done through the boys’ uncle, who lives in London.
The people who sent the money could not open a case because the money was illegal. The only way around the problem was to have the uncle’s nephews kidnapped, so that he could come back home and release the money.
The uncle flew in from London and immediately intervened in the police investigation, cutting off all negotiators and handling it himself.
City Press also reports that police know who abducted the children and intended to use them as state witnesses, but two of those responsible have already been murdered.
Police are also looking into two WhatsApp calls, one made from Mozambique and the other from a cellphone number registered in Iraq, for clues.
Over to TimesLIVE:
The first call, said a police source, who cannot be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media, was made from a Mozambican listed number.
“The call was made a day after the kidnapping. It was to one of the father’s cellphones. The caller, whose location was tracked to the coastal Mozambique town of Bilene through the help of that country’s authorities and cellphone companies, said the boys were fine, in good health and had not been harmed.”
On the same call, instructions were given on how the ransom should be paid.
The second call was made seven days later:
“That call, which lasted one minute, came from an Iraqi registered number. The caller, who was different to the first, demanded to know how far the family had got in securing the ransom and when it would be paid. The caller gave specific instructions on how a minimum of R50m would have to be paid before any consideration could be made to releasing the children, with proof of payment required.”
…The source said detectives were informed that the ransom was fully paid two days before the brothers were released.
However, police are now taking a closer look at where that money came from with a police source saying “the investigation has suddenly become much bigger”.
Cyber forensic experts are analysing those calls, although the call placed from the Iraqi number is proving very tricky.
Efforts are also being made to reach out to the family in Dubai for assistance with the investigation.
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