KARACHI: Sixty-nine foreign bank accounts of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, its London-based chief Altaf Hussain and other leaders have been detected abroad and the Pakistan government has sought record of these accounts from the relevant countries in connection with an ongoing investigation into terror financing and money laundering against the MQM leadership, the FIA told an antiterrorism court on Wednesday.

In a progress report, the FIA’s counterterrorism wing informed the ATC-II judge that during investigation it had transpired that money was collected from people through extortion and ransom and deposited in the bank accounts of the Khidmat-i-Khalq Foundation (KKF), a charity wing of the MQM.

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It mentioned that the KKF books have been taken into possession during a raid and scrutinised. It has been found that Rs1,321,509,608 was collected through these books during the years 2013-14-15 and the amounts were also deposited through bank transactions in the KKF accounts, it added.

“These amounts were further transferred to the personal accounts of the trustees of KKF, MQM accounts and other firms and subsequently those amounts were sent abroad to the accounts of the MQM UK, Simon and Simons in the UK and other accounts, including personal accounts of trustees,” the report said.

KKF record taken into possession, scrutinised

“Up till now 69 accounts of the MQM, Altaf Hussain, Ahmed Tariq Meer etc have been detected abroad, the record of the same have been requisitioned through the Foreign Office,” the investigating agency informed the court in its progress report, adding that “the reply is still awaited”.

The agency further said that the federal government also engaged a lawyer in the United Kingdom, Barrister Toby Cadman, who visited Pakistan. Mr Cadman was provided a report regarding detailed record required from the UK and other countries, it said, adding that a reply was still awaited.

The report added that a dossier-I had also been prepared and forwarded to Mr Cadman for assistance in the money laundering case in the UK. KKF donors were being examined and persons who have received the amounts from the KKF’s accounts were also being examined, the report stated.

Therefore, the court was asked to adjourn the proceedings of the case for two months under the provisions of Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Arrest warrants for Altaf Hussain

The judge took the progress report on record and repeated non-bailable warrants for the arrest of MQM chief Altaf Hussain with the direction to the IO to produce him in court on Sept 1.

The FIA had booked MQM founder Altaf Hussain for terror financing and money laundering in October 2017 — a year after the British investigators had dropped the same probe against him because of “insufficient evidence”.

On a complaint of a UK-based businessman, Sarfaraz Merchant, a case against him was registered under sections 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 122 (collecting arms, etc, with intention of waging war against Pakistan), 123-A (condemnation of the creation of the state, and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 477-A (fraudulent cancellation, destruction, etc, of will, authority to adopt, or valuable security), and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2010 as well as sections 11 (H), 11 (I) and 11 (J) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The FIA also named Karachi’s deputy mayor Arshad Vohra, former senator Babar Ghauri, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor, Khawaja Rehan and former senator Ahmed Ali as co-suspects in the FIR, claiming that funds from the bank accounts of the KKF were illegally transferred to the accounts of these persons.

In an interim charge sheet, the FIA also mentioned the names of Tariq Mir and Mohammad Anwar as alleged partners of the MQM founder. It alleged that the funds collected by the KKF were to be utilised for various social welfare activities whereas the funds were being misused by Altaf Hussain and his accomplices in the UK and Pakistan through MNAs, senators, the deputy mayor and other members of the MQM.

The funds transferred from bank accounts of the KKF to accounts of different individuals and organisations were subsequently bank-to-bank transferred to the MQM UK and various other accounts in the UK, it added.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018