The National Accountability Bureau has summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador-designate to the United States Ali Jahangir Siddiqui over allegations of financial misappropriation inflicting damage on the national exchequer.
A notice issued by the graft-buster asks Siddiqui to appear before the Lahore bureau on March 22 regarding the allegations that he caused losses of Rs40 billion to investors.
Among the charges initially leveled against the investment banker is that Siddiqui, as director of investment firm Azgard Nine Ltd, was “syphoning 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.”
Siddiqui, who will be succeeding Aizaz Chaudhry as the ambassador to United States, will also be asked about selling shares of Agritech Ltd to different financial and government institutions by Azgard Nine at a price 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 Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) report claimed that prices of Azgard Nine group’s shares were artificially increased from Rs24 to Rs70, and subsequent payments were also made to an unidentified party. —INP