Pakistan hires top British lawyer in money laundering case against MQM founder

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Pakistan hires top British lawyer in money laundering case against MQM founder

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has hired the services of a London based lawyer in a fresh push to plead re-investigation of the money laundering case against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) London chief Altaf Hussain. British investigative agency Scotland Yard dropped the investigations into this case in October 2016.

The London based British lawyer, Toby Cadman, is again being considered to be instrumental in gathering fresh evidences for the Scotland Yard and the UK Crown Prosecution Service related to money laundering cases against the MQM-London chief, Geo News has reported.

“We’ve signed an agreement with Toby Cadman weeks back to pursue money laundering case against Altaf Hussain,” a senior official confirmed to Geo News on Tuesday. “Mr Cadman would represent Pakistan in three MQM-related cases in the UK — these cases named — money laundering, hate speech and Imran Farooq murder case,” added the official who is associated with the Ministry of Interior as well as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Investigation Team probing these cases in Pakistan.

Mr Cadman, who is an international law specialist, also defended former president Pervez Musharraf in treason trial case and was instructed by the Panama JIT directly for his services to deal extensively with its affairs link with the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA). He is also a co-founder of Guernica 37, a London-based chamber with a particular focus on defending victims of human rights abuses nationally and internationally.

Informed officials say that both the Ministry of Law and Justice and Office of Attorney General of Pakistan gave go ahead to Mr Cadman’s contract. It was signed on 1st February of this year; officials added that Mr Cadman according to the contract would act on behalf of the government of Pakistan in relation to all the matters related to Altaf Hussain. The newly-hired lawyer would also liaise with the UK Home Office, Scotland Yard and the British government.

These correspondents have also learnt that Pakistan High Commission informed officials at Home Office in London that Toby Cadman has been hired to pursue the matters related to Altaf Hussain by Islamabad last month. The letter was sent by Pakistan High Commissioner in London Syed Ibn-e-Abbas to British authorities dealing with MQM London chief’s cases. A senior official who is closely monitoring cases linked to Altaf Hussain in FIA says although Islamabad sensed complications involved with reopening of fresh investigation into MQM London chief case, it would provide some more actionable evidences to The Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Cadman may charge Pakistan around 0.7 million GBP in this case, sources said, but government officials were not ready to disclose the lawyer's fee. A source said that Toby Cadman has been charging fees since 1st of February this year. Karachi businessperson Sarfraz Merchant, the key person in opening the money laundering cases against Altaf Hussain, was willing to provide fresh evidence in this case, added the officials.

Mr Cadman helped the Panama JIT look into the Sharif family’s London properties in July 2017 when he requested the British Home Office’s Central Authority International Criminality Unit to cooperate with the Pakistani investigation into ex-premier Sharif’s case. The JIT head, Wajid Zia, through Cadman, wanted British authorities to verify hundreds of British documents relating to the case. Mr Cadman’s law firm had also gathered the papers -- and it must be stressed that all these documents were available publicly.