ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : A multi-millionaire international arms dealer considered a fugitive from justice must return to Bergen County from his native Pakistan — where he has already been remarried — if he wants to complete his divorce to his first wife here, a state appeals panel ruled this week.
Sikander Durrani, 65, left his first wife with part of their accumulated wealth, including a $2.4 million Saddle River mansion and nearly two dozen cars worth a combined $1 million, court records show.
Durrani offered his first wife only the assets here if she declined alimony.
But she refused — charging, among other complaints, that she wasn’t served papers when he divorced her in Pakistan before remarrying there, according to the appeal heard by the state Appellate Division judges.
Sikander Durrani contributed several thousand dollars to a host of federal Democratic candidates in New Jersey and New York, including former U.S. Rep. Robert Torricelli and Steve Rothman, from 1995 to 2002, as well as to the Republican National Committee, records show.
Last September, he violated a directive from a Superior County judge in Hackensack not to leave the country and to surrender his passport. He appealed the orders — and in the meantime skipped to Pakistan on an undisclosed passport, where he has remained on “emergent business.”
As a result, the appellate judges rejected his arguments Thursday, siding with his first wife, Ishrat, 63. Should Durrani turn up in the U.S. without tending to his outstanding legal issues, a judge likely would issue a warrant for his arrest.
The couple were married in Pakistan in 1975. They moved to the United States in 1976 and had three children, all now in their 30s.
During the marriage, Sikander Durrani formed several businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the appeals court, the couple “began to live an extravagant lifestyle” that required a minimum $70,000 a month to maintain.
One business formed in the United States, Tecna USA, was named by Crain’s magazine as the fifth-largest minority-owned company in the New York area, with $227 million in revenue in 2007 and projections of $244.5 million for 2008.
Durrani also formed several companies in Pakistan that brokered the sale of arms, weapons and aircraft to the Pakistani government.
The couple, in turn, bought 25 luxury cars worth $1 million, along with boats and properties — although Durrani’s name is on the title of only two cars, court records show.
A Bergen County judge already has ordered Durrani to pay Ishrat $23,000 a month for support — as well as expenses that include outstanding credit card balances and costs for shelter and transportation that she said run roughly $51,783 per month — while the case remains in litigation.
Records show Durrani gave her the $23,000 for June through August last year but didn’t pay toward the other expenses. Instead, he gave her a $650,000 certificate of deposit and a checking account containing $23,000 which he said she could use for living expenses and counsel fees.
However, Ishrat said Durrani remarried in Pakistan the day after the judge issued the support order, then moved to transfer half of his marital property here to his new spouse. He hasn’t made any payments to Ishrat since, court records show.
She wants exclusive ownership of the mansion on Country Squire Road, as well as a restraining order against her husband.
Her subpoenas for information about his assets were quashed in Pakistan after he argued that they are “protected by the Official Secrets Act of the Government of Pakistan.”
The only information available is a 2009 personal tax return that shows an annual income for Durrani of $169,978, of which $70,054 is taxable interest.
His wife, meanwhile, produced a statement that showed the couple at the end of 2006 had a joint net worth $91,694,500.
Durrani admits he left the country twice after the court prohibited his travel but said he returned both times. This, he said, should convince the court that there’s no need to take the undisclosed passport that allowed him to travel to Pakistan.
Durrani also insisted he is using a “temporary travel docoment” while having to remain in Pakistan on “emergent business.”
The appeals judges, invoking the “fugitive disentitlement” doctine, say Durrani must return to the U.S., hand over the passport and pay up.
If he doesn’t, they said, Ishrat “will have no practical means of enforcing the court’s orders against him.”
That said, the judges noted that nothing is preventing Durrani from coming to Family Court in Hackensack and pleading his case in the divorce.
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