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National

October 21, 2018
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Extradition trial for Karachi businessman set after bail bid fails

National

October 21, 2018

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LONDON: A district judge at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court has put Karachi businessman Jabir Siddiq in remand till the trial next year - after the bail application of the accused was rejected at the London High Court over fears that he could flee the country.

Jabir Sisddiq – also known as Jabir Moti – was arrested on August 17 by the Scotland Yard from Hilton Metropole, Edgware Road, on the extradition request filed by the American government in relation to allegations of conspiracy to commit blackmail, import class-A drugs, money laundering in the USA and conspiracy to issue threats to extort money.

On Friday afternoon, Extradition District Judge Tan Khan heard representative of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Siddiq’s lawyer and announced that the trial will last for around three days and will take place in the last week of February next year.

It’s at the trial that the United States of America will explain why it wants the Karachi businessman to be extradited for trial on the USA’s soil. The defence lawyer said that he intended to inform the judge that the US authorities “abused the process” and used methods of “entrapment” on his client Jabir Siddiq.

Jabir Siddiq appeared via video link from the Wandsworth Prison and spoke to confirm his name and identity. He confirmed to the judge that he will be appearing via video link for the trial.

In a worrying development for the Pakistani national, the US authorities have sent a new note to the court authorities and prosecution here alleging that Jabir Siddiq was involved in setting up the sale of Class-A drugs of 4 kilograms to the USA – a crime which carries prison term of 5 years to life imprisonment.

The hearing on Friday took place after Jabir Siddiq made bid – probably his last – at the London High Court for bail and upped the bail surety amount to £1.5 million but the judge refused the bail stating that there was “genuine” fear that he could easily obtain a travel document using his connections and influence to flee the country. The judge said that it would not be safe to give him bail even with the huge amount of £1.5 million on offer. At an earlier hearing three weeks ago at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, District Judge Emma Arbuthnot had refused the bail after bail surety of £1 million was offered. The judge had maintained that there was flight risk – the same argument upheld by the High Court - although the judge said she was convinced that Jabir was a man of “good character” and has no previous convictions or legal issues with authorities and came across as a credible person but she gave weight to the argument of the prosecution that the Karachi businessman could get access to alternative travel papers easily.

Jabir Siddiqi has been described in UK court proceedings as a "senior member" and "top lieutenant" of D Company – an allegation he has vehemently denied and no link has been produced yet in the court to corroborate the allegation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleges that Siddiq went to Atlantic City for two days in 2011 to meet two undercover FBI agents for an alleged narcotics and money-laundering deal but the defence says that he got trapped into it and unlawful methods were used to entrap him. The FBI alleges that he was also involved in smuggling of Class-A drugs in quantity of 4 kilograms into the country and issued threats to extort money from the proceeds of drugs sales and separately used threats and intimidation to collect money and rents from various people for the criminal syndicate he allegedly worked for.

Jabir Siddiq has denied the allegations and his lawyer has told the court that his grandfather and father were pivotal in setting up Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and belonged to a respectable business family with history of genuine business credentials.

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