UK court denies bail to D-Company top man

UK court denies bail to D Company top manLONDON: Jabir Moti, described as a “senior member” and “top lieutenant” of organized crime and terror network D-Company, has denied bail on charges of money laundering and extortion by a UK court after the judge concluded that he was a flight risk.

The 51-year-old Pakistani national, who appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court here after being arrested by Scotland Yard’s Extradition Unit, faces extradition to the US following an FBI investigation dating back to 2005, the court was told.

The D Company refers to the network of the underworld don and India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Moti faces allegations of conspiracy to launder money and extortion that link up to terrorist offences as well as charges of drug trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars.

The accused, referred to in court as Jabir Siddiq Moti, was remanded in custody. “I am not persuaded to grant you bail. These are very, very serious allegations there are substantial grounds to believe you will fail to appear before the court or commit further offences,” Judge Margot Coleman said in her ruling.

“The US is a democracy, which runs on the rule of law and we function on a system of mutual trust between our countries. So, if they say there is evidence to support the allegations, I am entitled to take that at face value,” she said, in reference to the US authorities’ extradition request.

The court was told that Moti had been under investigation by the FBI as a key aide of D-Company, “named after the leader of the company based in Pakistan”, associated with trafficking and money laundering through international smuggling routes across South Asia that were also linked to terrorist funding.

“For a fee, D Company uses the power of violence for debt collection and has a reputation of intimidating members of the family of its debtors in India and Pakistan,” the prosecution said in its case summary.

In his interactions with undercover agents in the US and Pakistan, Moti allegedly admitted to being involved with narcotics and dealing with large amounts of cash and the court was told that it is believed he is behind nearly USD 1.4 million laundered to date.

Moti’s defense attorney, Toby Cadman from the law firm Guernica, disputed the charges as unsubstantiated, describing his client as a businessman from Karachi who has been resident in Dubai for many years.

“His father established the stock exchange in Karachi in 1953 and that is the basis of his successful and wealthy business,” Cadman said, adding that his client “protests strongly” to the claims of his involvement with any organized crime group.

He said that Moti was willing to be subjected to stringent bail conditions, with his son offering a “significant amount” as security, because it is in his interest to remain in UK to challenge extradition to the US and clear his name.

Cadman also stressed that his client had never been arrested or charged in any jurisdiction and did not have citizenship or travel documents from any other country besides Pakistan – a document which remains in the custody of the UK police.

According to details that emerged in court, Moti arrived in the UK on business on a 10-year visa and was due to leave the UK on August 22.

Earlier, before the judge began hearing the application for Moti’s bail, his defense team had asked for the media to be banned from the hearing over safety concerns due to “reports appearing in the Indian media”.

Judge Coleman had turned down the request, saying: “We have open justice in this country.” PTI

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