By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
And this is just the beginning of Gaffney's probe.
Subpoenas are flying out of Gaffney's office at a blistering rate, triggering outcries from the Hashim family's attorneys, who claim Gaffney is on a politically motivated fishing expedition that is financed by the revenge-seeking AMF.
Hashim says Gaffney has unfairly attacked innocent third parties with more than 70 subpoenas and is improperly dragging out depositions over many days.
"They are generating good fees for themselves," Hashim says, noting that he's filed protests with the court over Gaffney's tactics.
Protests may be filed, but the bankruptcy case clearly has not gone well for the Hashims.
Gaffney continues to discover contradictions not only in their written, sworn disclosure statements, but in their oral depositions. Undisclosed bank accounts are routinely uncovered, and the extent of the Hashim family's business ties are just coming to light, bankruptcy records reveal.
Gaffney obviously is trying to show that Jawad Hashim failed to disclose information on his bankruptcy petition.
Failing to disclose pertinent financial information on federal bankruptcy documents can have serious consequences--five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Court records show that the U.S. Attorney's Office is monitoring the case, although federal officials say they can neither confirm nor deny an investigation.
Gaffney is boring in particularly hard on Hashim's 30-year-old elder son, Jafar, who has a master's degree from the American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale. Jafar has taken on the primary role of provider in the Hashim family, covering expenses for the rest of the family.
Gaffney already has uncovered several glaring contradictions in Jafar Hashim's bankruptcy filing. In one instance, Jafar Hashim claimed he owned only $2,500 worth of furniture. But Gaffney uncovered receipts in Canada and bank loan statements showing Jafar Hashim owned $500,000 worth of furniture.
The furniture, Gaffney argues, should be included in the bankruptcy estate for possible liquidation that would benefit the Arab Monetary Fund.
Such discoveries have become almost routine in the complex case, court documents show.
"On almost a weekly basis the last four weeks, [we] continue to unearth bank accounts that were not provided in the statement of affairs," Gaffney told the bankruptcy judge during a February hearing.
In the last two months, Gaffney has stepped up pressure to expand the range of his depositions to include parties other than the Hashim family. The trustees assigned to each bankruptcy estate are also urging the court to allow Gaffney to continue requesting financial documents from as many parties as necessary to determine the extent of the Hashim family's finances.
"You have individuals who are living significant lifestyles but don't seem to have any visible means of support that they can call their own," says attorney Terry Dake, who represents the trustee over the Jawad Hashim estate. "For the most part, the contention seems to be that they are relying on the generosity of others."
Tom Clemency, the attorney representing another of the bankruptcy trustees in the Hashim bankruptcy cases, is urging that Gaffney be allowed to expand his probe to include nonfamily members, including a wealthy Iranian-born businessman, Ali Salass.
Ali Salass is a young Scottsdale real estate investor who manages a portfolio of about 15 partnerships worth approximately $30 million. He hails from an immensely wealthy Iranian family that founded and continues to operate Iran's largest heavy-construction company.
Gaffney and the trustees want to determine whether the Hashims have commingled their funds--including, possibly, stolen Arab Monetary Fund assets--with Salass' fortune. They have some reason to suspect something might be going on.
Ali Salass' sister, Maryam Salass, is married to Jafar Hashim. And there is no doubt that Ali Salass has extensive financial dealings with the Hashim family, bankruptcy court records show.
During the past four months, Gaffney and Salass' attorneys have been attempting to reach an agreement on turning over documents and deposing Ali Salass.
Gaffney already has found scores of checks between Ali Salass and his sister and brother-in-law involving "substantial" amounts of money. Documents show Salass also has loaned $500,000 to Jafar Hashim for a real estate investment in Canada. Jafar Hashim later defaulted on the loan.
More significant, Gaffney discovered checks from Ali Salass to Jawad Hashim, who then deposited them in a Bank of America account that he did not disclose on his bankruptcy filing. Hashim says he closed the Bank of America account prior to filing bankruptcy.
"Money goes back and forth in very large amounts at the most simplistic level possible, and we're dealing here within three years of bankruptcy," Gaffney said in a March 7 bankruptcy court hearing.
Gaffney's discovery of financial transactions between Ali Salass and Jawad Hashim raises serious doubts about the veracity of at least one statement Ali Salass made under oath to the bankruptcy court.
In a sworn affidavit dated February 3--one month before Gaffney discovered the checks going from Ali Salass to Jawad Hashim--Ali Salass stated: "I have had no financial dealings of any manner with Jawad Hashim."
As one glaring inconsistency after another emerges in bankruptcy court, it is clear the Hashims are getting desperate.
Jawad Hashim is bringing in new lawyers, who are making long-shot attempts to derail further discovery in the case.