LONDON: A UK judge on Tuesday refused to grant bail to a Karachi-based businessman arrested here last week on a US request.
Jabir Motiwala was arrested by the extradition unit of Metropolitan Police on Aug 17 allegedly for conspiring to launder money and extort money in the United States.
Jabir Motiwala is a senior member of an organised crime syndicate, prosecution lawyer Leanna Bennett said in her arguments at the start of the bail hearing.
She maintained that Mr Motiwala was a Pakistani national with Jabir Siddiq as one of his names which was mentioned on the passport on which he travelled to the UK. She stated that though his passport had been seized by the police it couldn’t be said for sure whether he had no other passports, making him a flight risk.
Toby Cadman, representing Jabir Motiwala, said that whatever had been presented in the court were mere allegations and without any solid proof. He said the first warrant issued for his client’s arrest contained allegations of conspiracy to import drugs in the US but those allegations were not there in the subsequent arrest warrant and summary of the argument presented in the court.
Mr Cadman informed the court that his client had never been arrested in any jurisdiction and strongly contested all the allegations levelled against him. “My client is a Karachi-based businessman whose father established Karachi Stock Exchange way back in 1951. These are very serious allegations and it is in his interest to remain in the UK and clear his name,” he emphasised.
The defence lawyer said that if granted bail his client would not be in possession of any travel documents and would not go to any airport, port or international train station. He said these were very stringent conditions and his client was happy to comply with these.
Mr Cadman said his client last visited the US in 2011 and the matters mentioned in the charge-sheet were over seven years’ old.
District judge Margaret Coleman was, however, not convinced by arguments advanced by the defence barrister.
“Mr Motiwala, I am not persuaded to grant you bail. You are facing these serious allegations spelled out in the US request. The US is a democracy and we work together on the basis of mutual trust. This is my reason to refuse you bail,” she said.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2018