British investigative agency Scotland Yard on Thursday dropped investigations into the money laundering case against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain in London, reported DawnNews.
Cases against senior MQM leader Mohammad Anwar and businessman Sarfaraz Merchant were also dropped by the Metropolitan Police. The cases were wrapped up due to lack of evidence.
Earlier in the month, the Metropolitan Police requested a two-week delay before deciding if they will try to confiscate cash found in the MQM’s UK headquarters and the London homes of Altaf Hussain and the businessman Sarfraz Merchant.
MQM leader Wasay Jalil tweeted, "We are thankful that Scotland Yard have decided to drop the money laundering case against Altaf Hussain."
London police official response
The London Metropolitan Police Service on October 13, following a detailed evidential review and upon receipt of legal advice, made the decision to withdraw their application in a civil case under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for the forfeiture of over £500,000 in cash.
"The cash had been seized from a number of venues between 2012 and 2014," read the report.
Having examined all of the evidence the Met accepted that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the money seized was the proceeds of crime or was intended for use in unlawful conduct.
"Since 2013, officers from the Met's National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit have been investigating allegations of money laundering to which the civil proceedings were linked. Officers have worked diligently on the investigation and thoroughly investigated all of the evidence to establish if any laws had been broken in the UK."
During the course of the investigation:
- Six people were arrested
- 11 other people were interviewed under caution
- A total of 28 interviews were conducted at police stations of persons under investigation
- Over 100 witness statements were taken
- Nine premises were searched which were located in the South and North of England
The London police said that all reasonable lines of enquiry were exhausted, including international enquiries.
"A case file has been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for their careful consideration. Officers have now received their advice, taking into account all of the evidence identified during the course of the investigation, that there is not a realistic prospect of a successful prosecution under UK law, therefore the investigation is now complete and no further action will be taken," the police report said.
The police found £167,525.92 in the MQM’s offices in London and a further £289,785.32 in Mr Hussain’s home. A smaller sum — around £30,000 — was found in Mr Merchant’s home.
The MQM supremo was arrested in the case on June 3, 2014 by the London Metropolitan Police. However, Altaf was released four days later.
He was granted four bail-extensions during the investigations:
- July 2014
- Dec 2014
- April 2015
- July 2015
During their investigations, the London Metropolitan Police had discovered ‘a considerable amount of money’ during raids on Hussain’s residence and office in London.