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MQM chief facing probe: London police

Updated July 12, 2013

KARACHI, July 11: The London Metropolitan Police have confirmed that investigations against Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain have been initiated on charges of money laundering and incitement to violence.

According to a BBC Urdu Service report released on Thursday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed in a written reply that ‘a considerable amount of money’ had been found during raids on Mr Hussain’s residence and office in London, but no arrest had so far been made.

It said the cash was found when a counter-terrorism unit of police raided Mr Hussain’s office on Dec 6 last year under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in connection with the investigation of Dr Imran Farooq murder case.

However, no further detail was provided by police as they said the money was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Two more raids were carried out in as many houses in north London on June 18 and again a considerable amount of money was seized.

Police said it was being investigated as to how and under what circumstances the money had reached the three places, said the BBC Urdu Service report.

Talking to the host of BBC Two Newsnight, which aired a documentary about Mr Hussain and his party, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar also admitted the seizure of some money during raids in London.

He said he could not comment on the investigation into possible money-laundering while police inquiries were in progress.

According to BBC News website, Newsnight understands that in raids on MQM-owned properties in London, police seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in unaccounted-for cash.

The London police also received thousands of complaints against Mr Hussain for a controversial speech from London to his followers in Karachi and police sent the transcript of the speech to Home Office for translation and analysis.

However, police did not tell the BBC anything about the advice they got from the Home Office on Mr Hussain’s speech.

Newsnight also confirmed that in 2001 Mr Hussain had written a letter to then British prime minister Tony Blair in which the former had offered the British government his party’s help in getting secret information about Jihadi networks in Pakistan. Newsnight got this letter under the Freedom of Information Act.

Dr Sattar was also shown clips of certain speeches of Mr Hussain. He told the programme host that the MQM chief had never said anything to incite violence and his party was never involved in violent activities.

Rejecting allegations levelled in the Newsnight programme, Dr Sattar said it appeared that “there has been an influence of pro-Taliban and radical forces while this documentary was being prepared”.

Meanwhile, another MQM leader, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, told a press conference here that parts of certain speeches of Mr Hussain had been presented out of context in the BBC programme.

Condemning the television programme for what he called out-of-context presentation of Mr Hussain’s speeches, he asked people to exercise patience and vowed that MQM would raise its voice in a democratic manner at every forum against the propaganda.