Tuesday July 16, 2024

Asif Hafeez loses three UK properties worth £6m after arrest in drugs case

By Murtaza Ali Shah
April 29, 2021

LONDON: Pakistani gold and silver trader Muhammad Asif Hafeez has lost three expensive properties in the UK nearly four years after being arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on American request for extradition in relation to charges of heroin import.

Muhammad Asif Hafeez is currently languishing in inhumane conditions at the high security unit at Belmarsh prison, awaiting ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on whether or not he should be extradited to the US where he faces three different counts of Class-A drugs import – each carrying a minimum life sentence.

The court papers seen by this reporter confirm that Asif Hafeez has now lost all the three UK properties he owned and sources close to Hafeez have accused that the UK authorities adopted draconian methods with the Hafeez family and the result was that the family couldn’t continue with mortgage and banking arrangements.

The UK authorities have confirmed that there was no case of any wrongdoing against the former commercial pilot and gold merchant in the UK jurisdiction and the NCA never applied to seize assets of Asif Hafeez and had no case to begin with but the campaign against the Pakistani national, on American pressure, has had serious consequences.

Muhammad Asif Hafeez. File photo

The paper work seen by this reporter shows that Muhammad Asif Hafeez — described in the US indictment papers as ‘Sultan’ of the alleged drug selling network that spanned India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East and African countries — owned luxury apartment 14 Crown Court, 123 Park Road in the Central London’s St John’s Wood area.

This flat was valued at around £2.25 million. Asif Hafeez also owned two farmhouses in Windsor called ‘Old Farm’ and ‘Old Barn’, with a combined value of around £6 million.Asif Hafeez owned these properties since 2005 and they were all mortgaged. Their mortgage payments were always on time, later seized by the banks to be sold off eventually.

After Hafeez’s arrest, his family members were prevented from making the payment and then sold off by the banks due to heavy outstanding mortgage dues and non-payments. A spokesman for the National Crime Agency said the NCA didn’t seize the properties but didn’t deny interference.

The two farm lands were valued by the bank (back in 2011) to have a worth of around £6m but it was sold for around £4m, causing a financial loss to the seller. It’s believed that the asset was undersold by 40 per cent less than the market price.

At the Windsor equestrian farms, Asif Hafeez spent summer holidays with his family and spent time with ponies and playing polo in the nearby polo fields. It was his passion for polo that led him to become a member of Ham Polo Club. Through his association with the club, Hafeez and his wife met Prince William and Prince Harry and donated to their charities. He was famously pictured shaking hands and mixing with the Royal family at one of the polo events. When the NCA raided his London pad in August 2017, a similar raid was also launched at the Windsor farmhouse and gadgets and paperwork was seized from there too.

A source shared that a tenant lived there at the time. The tenant, encouraged by the predicament of the family and their inability to go after him, refused to pay rent for nearly two years and caused a loss of nearly £80,000 to Asif Hafeez.The police took no action when approached by the family over the phone from Pakistan. The tenant evicted the property only ahead of its sale to a new buyer, without paying a penny.

The US alleges that Asif Hafeez conspired with Akasha Organisation, led by brothers Baktash Akasha Abdalla and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla, for heroin production and smuggling and that they also set up a special laboratory in Mozambique. The US has linked Hafeez to the Indian national Goswami and his wife Mamta Kulkarni, a well-known Bollywood actress, who were also part of Hafeez’s gang and ran a factory in India to manufacture ephedrine, the deadly drug’s active ingredient.

It alleged that this drug from India was then due to be smuggled to Mozambique. Asif Hafeez has denied all charges. He maintains that he has been fixed by the US authorities and has done no wrongdoing.