Afghan president’s pick for agricultural minister wanted by Interpol


By Agencies

Ashraf Ghani’s nominee Mohammad Yaqub Haidari listed as wanted in Estonia for alleged ‘large-scale tax evasion’

The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani’s nominee for agriculture minister in the new cabinet is on an Interpol wanted list for alleged tax evasion in Estonia, a fact Ghani’s spokesman said was unknown to his office at the time of his nomination.

In this regard, Afghanistan has launched an investigation after it emerged that Ghani’s nominee for was wanted for tax evasion, an official said Sunday.

Interpol’s website lists Mohammad Yaqub Haidari, 52, as wanted in Estonia for alleged “large-scale tax evasion, fraudulent conversion” in cases dating back to 2003.

A spokesman for Ghani, Nazifullah Salarzai, said on Saturday that the presidential office was unaware Haidari had any legal troubles but was investigating.

Although Haidari has been on the wanted list for years, it was not widely known or reported in Afghanistan.

Ghani was sworn in as president last year to replace long-time leader Hamid Karzai, and his ministerial nominations were announced on Monday, after a wait of more than three months.

Haidari confirmed on Saturday that he is on the Interpol wanted list but insisted he is innocent.

“I am being targeted by a political conspiracy. When you enter the world of business and politics, this is what happens,” he told a foreign news outfit. He said that the taxes were owed not by him but by a person with whom he had done business.

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