Update on 13 October 2016: Scotland Yard has decided to drop the money-laundering investigation involving Altaf Hussain, Sarfraz Merchant, M Anwar and others. There is insufficient evidence to prove that the money seized at Altaf’s house was the proceeds of crime, says Scotland Yard. – Geo
8 July 2015: Bail of Altaf Hussain and three others – Tariq Mir, M Anwar and Sarfraz Merchant – in money laundering case extended till October 2015.
14 April 2015: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain was brought to Central London’s Southwark police station for questioning by Scotland Yard officials on Tuesday after his bail in a money laundering case had expired. His bail is now extended till July. It is clear that police are not in a rush to take this case to the court only to find out that they have not enough evidence to secure his conviction!
We published the piece below on the day he was arrested last year, highlighting that the arrest does not mean the same as in Pakistan. It’s part of an ongoing process.
Arrest of Altaf Hussain: A big deal? No.
By Barrister Ameer Abbas Ali Khan
LONDON, 3 June 2014: Some may be wondering that, God forbid, hell has fallen upon the arrest of Altaf Hussain. Not so. People must realise that his arrest is part of the investigation being conducted by the UK police in relation to apparently £400,000 found from his home address in London.
Had there been anyone else, even the Prime Minister of UK, in place of Altaf Hussain he would have to go through the same procedure as Altaf Hussain is going through.
The arrest of big personalities may be a great deal in societies like Pakistan where the Rule of Law has yet to be established but in societies like UK it’s part of the procedure that whoever is suspected of committing a crime would be arrested and police will ask him questions in relation to the alleged offence as a part of evidence gathering exercise.
In that context, the arrest of Altaf Hussain is not a great deal as police will mainly be asking him questions about the money found from his address in order to establish as to whether or not that money is the proceeds of crime.
Police generally have 24 hours, though such time can be extended subject to certain conditions, from the time of arrival of suspect to the police station to decide whether or not to charge a person or to bail him for further enquiries.
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The basic concept of money laundering is that the alleged money is the proceeds of crime and it would be for police to prove that the money found from Altaf Hussain’s address is not earned through legitimate sources.
Once police are in a position to gather sufficient evidence that there are reasonable prospects of securing a conviction, the matter would be sent to court. If found guilty there then depending upon various factors, including the amount of money and the source of it, the sentence of it varies from fine to 14 years imprisonment.
Also, keeping in mind the maxim that a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty the arrest of Altaf Hussain is just a part of the procedure and not a big deal in societies where there is Rule of Law.
Also by Barrister Ameer Abbas Khan:
An Abdalian and Aitchisonian, Barrister Ameer Abbas Ali Khan, is a Solicitor-Advocate (UK), Advocate High Court. He has LLB (Hons) UK, LLM (LSE), Bar-at-Law from Lincoln Inn, and lives in London. His father has been an MP in Pakistan over several decades.
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