A senior leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Mohammad Anwar, was arrested in London on Wednesday over money laundering charges.
MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said Mohammad Anwar of the Rabita Committee was arrested at 9am local time and was taken to the Central London Police Station.
“Our understanding is that this is part of the Metropolitan Police’s ongoing investigation into allegations of money laundering,” an official MQM statement stated. “MQM firmly denies any suggestion of money laundering. We will continue to cooperate with the police and continue to hope for a timely conclusion of this matter.”
Meanwhile, MQM has decided to send its legal team from Karachi to assist the lawyers in London to pursue the case of Anwar’s arrest.
Anwar lives in London and his association with party chief Altaf Hussain spans two decades. He is a member of the MQM’s coordination committee. An MQM member confirmed that he has been associated with the party since 1989.
London Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrest of “a 64-year-old man from northwest London on suspicion of money laundering”.
While the Met Police did not name the arrested man, the website stated that officers from the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) arrested a suspect from his residence and officers are presently searching the address.
According to the statement, the arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into a money laundering case.
The statement said the suspect has since been taken into custody at a Central London Police Station while enquiries continue. His identity was not disclosed by the British authorities, however the MQM has said that the arrested man is Mohammad Anwar.
Five other men previously arrested in connection with the investigation into money laundering are on bail.
Last year in June, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain was arrested in London in connection with an investigation in a money laundering case.
The London Metropolitan police had confirmed that a 60-year-old man had been arrested from northwest London property on charges of money-laundering, but they declined to disclose the exact identity for “legal reasons”.
However, there is no confirmation from the British authorities that the arrest made today is linked to the money laundering probe involving some MQM members.
According to a 2013 BBC Urdu Service report, the Metropolitan Police had confirmed in a written reply that ‘a considerable amount of money’ had been found during raids on the MQM chief’s residence and office in London, however no arrest had been made then.
It said the cash was found when a counter-terrorism unit of police raided Hussain’s office on Dec 6, 2012 under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in connection with the investigation of Dr Imran Farooq murder case.
However, no further details were 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, 2013 and again a considerable amount of money was seized.
The BBC Urdu Service report had quoted police as saying that it was being investigated as to how and under what circumstances the money had reached the three places.
Talking to the host of BBC Two Newsnight, which aired a documentary about Altaf and his party, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar had also admitted the seizure of some money during raids in London.