Ali Siddiqui pleads time from NAB to answer the questionnaire

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Once encircled with heavy influence even at the personal office of the former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (now spending prison sentence) former US envoy Ali Jahangir Siddiqui came under the radar of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of Pakistan.

Fire reached at the edge of his sleeves, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui son of Jahangir Siddiqui, who played at all corners during the regime of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (MNS) with top bureaucrats in is pocket now plead the NAB for time to submit his reply.

Former Pakistan envoy to the United States, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, on Saturday once again appeared before an investigation team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to get his statement recorded in connection with a case of alleged insider trading in the equity market (Pakistan Stock Exchange).

NAB alleged that Ali Siddiqui, as director of investment firm Azgard Nine Ltd, tapped off funds amounting to €23.758 million in 2008 for the purchase of an Italian company, Monte Bello SRL, using a foreign company, Fairytal SRL Sweden, which resulted in a loss to the company and shareholders.

Ali Siddiqui allegedly sold shares of Agritech Ltd to different financial and government institutions through Azgard Nine at a higher than market price to settle the loan defaults of the company, which resulted in an approximate loss of Rs40 billion to the institutions.

In 2016, a report of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) said prices of Azgard Nine group’s shares were artificially increased from Rs24 to Rs70, and payments were also made to an unidentified party.

According to NAB sources, Ali recorded his statement before NAB office Lahore. Bureau asked Ali to provide records of his companies’ accounts in private and public banks and the loans that these companies took or got written off.

NAB sources said that the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had allegedly transferred a huge amount in a bank account of a bureaucrat close to the former US envoy a few days before his appointment as ambassador. NAB is also looking into the money transfer and motives behind it.

The sources said Ali Siddiqui once again urged for the time to gather the spilled beans. NAB also handed him a questionnaire, seeking detailed replies. The former ambassador has to submit the answers on his next appearance before the NAB joint investigation team.

Well informed sources in the capital city Islamabad said that the influential friends of Siddiqui are either in  the surveillance of investigating authorities or jailed on corruption charges. Moreover, the authorities are also investigating the appointment of Ali Siddiqui as ambassador to the USA.