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February 8, 2019

PTI govt clears Rs41.9m legal bill of London lawyer

National

February 8, 2019

LONDON: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has cleared the payment of £233,000 (approx Rs41.9 million) to a noted British lawyer here who is involved in pursuing cases against the MQM supremo on behalf of Pakistani government.

The News has learnt that the government, at a recent cabinet meeting, approved the payment of £233,000 to Toby Cadman’s barristers Chambers in London for one year of legal work in relation to cases involving the leadership of the MQM led by Altaf Hussain.

The legal bill of the London Chambers - Guernica 37 - came under discussion as an “agenda item” at the cabinet meeting where it was agreed to release payment of £233,000 to Toby Cadman for the year-long service in 2018. It’s understood that a contract between the government of Pakistan and Toby Cadman was signed a year ago at the rate of £25,000 a month for his legal services which involved writing letters to the British government, the Scotland Yard and other institutions.

The News contacted Toby Cadman in which he stated that “whilst it is a matter of public record that Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers was instructed to advise the Government of Pakistan in relation to a number of multi-jurisdictional criminal investigations, it would not be appropriate for me to comment whilst those inquiries are ongoing.”

This correspondent had revealed in an article on April 11, 2018 that Pakistani authorities have hired the services of Cadman in a fresh push to plead re-investigating of the money laundering case against the

MQM-London chief Altaf Hussain.

British investigative agency Scotland Yard dropped investigations into this case in October 2016. Pakistan passed more material to Scotland Yard over two years but in September last year the police told this correspondent that it has identified no new line of inquiry after assessing the material that Pakistani government had handed over seeking fresh probe against Altaf Hussain and his associates. The Metropolitan Police said that officers from the Metropolitan Police’s National Terrorist Financial Unit (NTFI) assessed material in relation to the money laundering which the Pakistani authorities sent after the investigation was declared closed by the police here in October 2016.

A government source told The News Wednesday that Cadman has been hired to gather - and pass on - fresh evidences for The Scotland Yard and The UK Crown Prosecution Service related to money laundering cases against the MQM-London chief. It’s understood that the main focus of Cadman is centred on the hate speech issue of the MQM leader. The source at the Ministry of Interior said that Pakistan is in touch with the British authorities in relation to the incitement of violence speeches, money-laundering and Dr Imran Farooq murder case.

Toby Cadman also defended former president Pervez Musharraf in treason trial case and was instructed by the Panama JIT directly for his services to deal with its affairs linked with the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA). Cadman’s name surfaced also during Panama JIT probe 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. Cadman’s Chambers had also gathered the papers - and it must be stressed that all these documents were available publicly. He had visited Pakistan in February for two days to meet Pakistan’s FIA officials who have registered a case of money-laundering against the MQM’s London-based leader on the complaint of Sarfraz Merchant.

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