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Int’l arrest warrant issued in tobacco case

By JT - Aug 06,2018 - Last updated at Aug 06,2018

AMMAN — The public prosecutor at the State Security Court (SSC) issued on Monday the International Red Notice against the main suspect in the case of illegal tobacco manufacturing and smuggling. 

A statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, identified the suspect with his initials (A.M), although officials have previously disclosed his full name as Awni Mutee, a businessman who reportedly fled the country to Lebanon a day ahead of a crackdown on illegal facilities linked to the case. 

His “escape” triggered public outrage amid assertions by the government to bring to justice all involved in the headline-grabbing case.

The statement said the prosecution coordinated with the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Unit to seize the assets of the suspect and addressed unit’s counterpart in the country where he lives now to take a similar move there, if any. The unit will also conduct an extensive financial analysis and probe involving the people implicated in the case and their companies.

Military Attorney General Hazem Majali said that prosecutors at the SSC managed through a special team formed to investigate the tobacco case to collect information and documents related to this case after the prosecutor general at the Customs Court referred it to the SSC.

The steps taken so far include interrogating suspects, issuing arrest warrants for the suspects at large, imposing a precautionary seizure of their movable and immovable assets, Majali said. 

“The case still needs more time [as]... there is a huge amount of relevant information that is received on a daily basis”, Majali added.

The tobacco factory case, which involves illegal manufacturing, faking and smuggling of cigarettes, has remained in the media spotlight for weeks. 

SSC prosecutors have indicted suspects in the case, but their number was not identified. They were charged for carrying out acts that jeopardise the safety and security of society and harming national economy.

The indictment list also included acts that would affect the Kingdom’s economic system, customs and sales tax evasion, endangering society and fraud.

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