Moti kidnappings: a most bizarre case
Were the Moti kidnappings revenge for a dirty money deal? And who dares bet on the cops finding out?
It’s one of the most intriguing, hushed-up stories of recent times, but now juicy details of that kidnapping seem to be trickling out. You know which one: in October, kidnappers seized four children — Zia, 15, Alaan, 13, Zayyad, 11, and Zidan Moti, 7 — and demanded a R50m ransom.
This wasn’t just any family, but the children of two prominent Polokwane businesspeople and relatives of property mogul Zunaid Moti.
Then suddenly, three weeks later, the boys were released unharmed. And after the family vanished to Dubai days later, amid talk of an information blackout, it seemed we’d never know what happened.
Now City Press has got wind of a remarkable story that, it says, involves "shady money transfers; suspected tax evasion; sibling rivalry" and even murder. Police sources said the family have refused to co-operate, which led to a raid on their home.
It seems the police now believe the kidnapping was revenge for a black market "hot money" deal gone wrong. The report says R40m was transferred through the Hawala informal transfer system, using the boys’ uncle as the intermediary. Only, that money apparently vanished.
After the uncle apparently flew from London to SA to negotiate the ransom, the boys were released.
And, in yet another twist, two of the kidnappers have apparently since been murdered.
You can only imagine how many times the police, who are routinely left scratching their heads over such first-principle crimes as firearms being nicked out of their own police stations, will fall over their own feet trying to deal with this.
If a televised insurrection has failed to secure a single conviction, imagine how the Keystone Cops will bungle cross-border money flows.
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