Mansoor Ijaz claims financial backing of mystery Indian political family


Mansoor Ijaz, the central character in Pakistan’s memogate scandal, told bankers he received $60 million from family’s Swiss bank holdings, The Hindu reported on Monday.
Mansoor Ijaz raised over $1.5 million from a San Marino bank by claiming to have the backing of a politically-influential Indian business family, court documents available with The Hindu show.
Ijaz made the claims in a March 10, 2008 letter to Banca Sammarinese di Investimento SPA, as he fought for time to repay loans taken the previous year. The letter is among documents filed before the New York Supreme Court in September 2010, after BSI sued the businessman.
In his letter to BSI, Ijaz promised he had secured $50 million from a “large Indian family that has real estate investments around the world, including over 40 apartment units in Las Vegas’ newest condominium towers [as well as] Dubai and India.” “The head of the family,” he went on, “is an important political personality from the State, where the family resides”.
“The investor’s funds,” Ijaz asserted, “are resident in Switzerland, and we are presently going through the necessary due diligence work”.
In addition, he said, “the same investor, due to its close ties with Tata Motors, has chosen to invest $10,000,000 in our planned launch of a company to develop the world’s most energy-efficient powertrains”.
“The Indian family,” Ijaz told The Hindu, “was one of the big ones — I’m not at liberty to say.” He however said the family had only planned an investment in “in my Aquarius Towers project for Las Vegas, not the powertrain deal —that was all American investors in which I invested my share using my pledged collateral to borrow the funds from BSI.”
Ijaz, in his letter, claims contracts had been signed for both deals in February 2008. He told the bank he would provide further details after a visit to India scheduled for late March that year. “Much hard work,” he wrote in a message to BSI’s directors citing temporary business reverses for his default, “has gone into correcting the situation, above all to protect my political reputation and future role in American politics.”
Tata Motors denies that it has had any dealings with Ijaz or EcoDrive, and there is no public-domain information available to suggest the businessman ever in fact began work on powertrains. Inquiries with immigration authorities in Mumbai also threw up no evidence that Ijaz had visited India during that time.
In filings before a New York court, BSI claimed Ijaz used funds it had advanced to his Ijaz Group and Aquarius companies “for his personal needs, including payment of mortgages and brokerage account fees, and used said lines of credit after his personal line of credit had reached its limit.” In addition, it alleged, “Aquarius never entered into any contracts, nor did it have any employees … [or] file tax returns.”
In a September 25, 2010 judgment, judge Charles Ramos ruled in favour of BSI, and Ijaz agreed to settle by repaying the bank $1.74 million. Peter Kurchen, the bank’s attorney, says he is yet to do so. “Given that he has not voluntarily satisfied the judgment in the past two years we are forced to commence enforcement action,” he said.