LONDON: Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, from the Westminster Magistrates Court, has rejected the arguments presented by the lawyers of Abraaj group founder, Arif Naqvi.
The honourable justice allowed the extradition of Arif Naqvi to the United States, where the former big shot businessman faces a sentence of 300 years for various counts of money laundering and fraud.
Arif Naqvi has the right to appeal this decision but only after Home Secretary Priti Patel gives her decision in this matter.
The Pakistan Daily spoke to Arif Naqvi as he arrived at the Westminster Magistrates Court in Central London but he refused to comment on the case.
In the court, Justice Emma Arbuthnot rejected the arguments made by Naqvi’s lawyers and approved the extradition request and sent it to the home secretary under section 92 of the Extradition Act 2003.
Arif Naqvi was arrested in London in April 2019 on charges of money laundering and fraud. At that time, he gave the number of the President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi as his contact to the London police.
Some time later, Naqvi filed bail with a whopping £15 million and has been on bail since then, however, he cannot leave the house for more than two hours everyday.
Naqvi’s lawyers requested the court to reduce the bail amount to £12 million but this was rejected by Justice Emma Arbuthnot.
His counsel further requested a change in the time Naqvi was allowed for exercise, which was from 4 pm to 6 pm everyday with the exception of Friday, when he is allowed to go out of his home from 10.30 till 3.30, taking Friday prayers into consideration.
Justice Emma Arthunbot accepted the request to change Naqvi’s time outside to 2 pm till 4 pm.
In the end, Arif Naqvi, who once controlled assets worth billions of dollars requested a moment to address the judge. Unable to resist his tears, Naqvi thanked the judge, regardless of the outcome. “I also wish to congratulate you on your elevation,” Naqvi said, addressing the judge.
According to the judgement which has been seen by The Pakistan Daily, Judge Emma Arbuthnot writes: “I find that the requirements of section 78 are satisfied. No bars to extradition are raised and I find there are none, sections 79 to 83 are satisfied. I have found above that extradition is not barred by forum. I have decided the arguments raised under section 87 (Articles 3 and 6) in the affirmative and therefore I must send the case to the Secretary of State for her decision as to whether the RP should be extradited under sections87(3) and 92 of the 2003 Act.”
Leaving the courtroom, Naqvi had a brief encounter with journalists who had also attended the hearing. Upon being asked how he was, Arif Naqvi said: “All ok.”
The full judgement is available here.