Thursday Sep 24, 2020
LONDON: The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has said that it has seized necklaces, gold, silver and diamond-encrusted Rolex watches from a safe deposit box belonging to a fugitive British Pakistani who fled to Pakistan before he was charged in the UK.
The SFO said it had confiscated 500,000 pounds ($638,500) worth of jewellery, including a gold ring emblazoned with the name “Nisar”, from the safe deposit box of the former partner of Nisar Afzal.
The latest move on Afzal’s assets comes after the SFO last year seized 1.52 million pounds from the sale of two properties in Birmingham, central England, bought by Afzal. The SFO told The News that Nisar Afzal fled to Pakistan before he could be charged by the SFO, and a warrant remains for his arrest. He fled in mid-2000s to Pakistan. He was implicated in a fraud against mortgage lenders, for which his brother, Saghir Afzal, was convicted and jailed in 2011 for 13 years. Saghir Afzal was sentenced to an additional 10 years for failing to pay a near 30-million-pound confiscation order within six months.
The SFO said that its conducting a civil recovery investigation into the substantial criminal proceeds of the Birmingham-born brothers Saghir and Nisar Afzal. In September 2020, the SFO used a listed asset order for the first time to secure a forfeiture order on £500,000 worth of jewellery and listed assets originally seized by the SFO from Shabana Kausar’s safe deposit box. Ms Kausar is the former partner of career criminal Nisar Afzal, but is judicially separated from him.
The SFO seized the jewellery under the suspicion that it represented the proceeds of crime and was granted permission by Westminster Magistrates’ Court to confiscate the seized assets. The forfeiture order was secured with Ms Kausar's consent.
Liz Baker, Head of the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Division, said: “This case reinforces our determination to use every tool available to us to prevent those who would bribe, cheat and steal from resting easily on their illicit gains.”
A listed asset order is a new tool in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 which allows law enforcement to seize, detain and subsequently forfeit ‘listed assets’ which are believed to represent the proceeds of crime or intended to be used for criminal purposes. Listed assets can be precious metals and stones, watches, artworks, face-value vouchers or postage stamps.
Another fugitive Scottish national Imran Hussain remains on the run in Pakistan after allegedly stealing £300 million.
Scottish Pakistani Imran Hussain has been on the run from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators for nearly 15 years over a VAT scam in which he allegedly stole £300million from UK taxpayers through a complex VAT fraud scheme, including profiting Al-Qaeda operations in the process.
Mushtaq Hussain, father of Imran Hussain, has said i that it’s been several years since his son fled the country and has not stepped back in the country. He said nobody else from the family is part of the investigation which means that Imran Hussain was responsible for his actions.
It has been alleged in a leaked intelligence report that some of the corrupt proceeds of around £8billion VAT (Value Added Tax) and benefit fraud were allegedly used to fund al-Qaeda’s various operations in madressahs. The leaked report has said that around 1% of the total fraud gain – or £80m – were allegedly used for projects associated with terrorist activities by a group of Asian fraudsters who executed fraud activities to make millions, using legitimate businesses. Imran Hussain – also known as Immy and Mani– fled to Pakistan as several suspects were raided and arrested in Glasgow and other places.