FBI violated Pakistan laws by secretly filming Karachi businessman, UK court told

Hearing continues on Jabir Motiwala’s extradition to United States of America

Murtaza Ali Shah
The FBI’s three Pakistani agents – described as CS1, CS2 & CS3 to protect their identity – interacted with Motiwala extensively over the course of more than five years in Karachi and Atlantic City/ file photo

LONDON: A Pakistani law expert has told the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that secret recording of Karachi businessman Jabir Motiwala on Pakistani soil by three Pakistani-American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents was violation of Pakistan’s laws.

Barrister Rehan Kayani, a Karachi based lawyer, was giving evidence before district judge John Zani on the second day of Jabir Motiwala’s extradition hearing to United States of America.

The Pakistani lawyer asked by the defence team – led by barrister Edward Fitzgerald and solicitor Deepak Vij - to appear before the court and explain the nature of Pakistani laws and whether it was legal for the FBI agents to secretly record Pakistani National Moti on Pakistan’s territory.

Karachi businessman Jabir Motiwala was secretly recorded by three Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pakistani origin secret agents over several years while he dealt in import of class A drugs, extortion and money-laundering to the United States, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told on Monday at the start of Motiwala’s extradition trial.

The FBI’s three Pakistani agents – described as CS1, CS2 & CS3 to protect their identity – interacted with Motiwala extensively over the course of more than five years in Karachi and Atlantic City to set up deals for the smuggling of heroin into the USA.

Motiwala was not aware that those dealing with him were working for FBI, secretly recording him on audio, video and written form to create evidence against him for arrest and prosecution later on.

Barrister Rehan Kayani told the court that Pakistani law provides provisions for other countries and their investigating agencies to enter into mutual legal assistance agreements to gather evidence to investigate criminality, but gathering evidence without entering into the legal agreements is violation of Pakistan’s laws and its sovereignty.

He told the court that the legal way for a country to obtain evidence is to do it through mutual legal assistance formula and not through secret audio and video recordings and other entrapment methods that encourage criminality.

The court has heard how the FBI’s Pakistani agents set up drugs deals with Motiwala. A four KG of class A heroin was shipped to America by Motiwala through FBI agents. The prosecution alleges that Motiwala threatened one of the agents unless payment was made to him for the successful delivery of narcotics. A partial payment was made to the Karachi businessman and evidence of the payment was saved by the secret agents.

The 51-year-old Pakistani national was arrested in August last year from Hilton on Edgware Road by Scotland Yard’s Extradition Unit on request of the US government to face extradition to the US after an FBI probe charged him with money laundering, extortion and conspiracy to import unlawful substances such as heroine.

Barrister John Hardy, on behalf of the US government, has accused that Motiwala was a “high ranking” member of the D-company, a criminal organisation run by Indian national Dawood Ibrahim. The prosecution barrister claimed that during his interaction with the FBI agents, the businessman disclosed activities of the D-company in India, UAE and Pakistan.

Motiwala’s legal team, led by barrister Edward Fitzgerald, raised the issue of "passage of time" claiming that the alleged offences date back many years and the "long delay" between 2014 and 2018 had not been "explained" by the US authorities. He has raised the issue of illegal methods being used to trap the businessman into committing acts of criminality. A psychiatrist specialist has told the court that Jabir Motiwala is highly likely to commit suicide if extradited to America.

The doctor told the court that he had seen his past medical record, obtained independently from Pakistan, and it was well established that Jabir Motiwala has a long history of depression he attempted suicide on three occasions.

Motiwala has denied the allegations and his lawyer has previously 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 the history of genuine business credentials.

The trial continues.