Business Standard

Pakistani businessman freed on 15mn pound bail in UK


Press Trust of India London
A Pakistani businessman fighting his extradition to the US from London on fraud charges has been released on a 15-million pound bail bond, the largest of its kind ordered by a UK court.
Arif Naqvi, who had been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London the same prison as fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, was released on bail after Westminster Magistrates' Court sent a release letter to the prison authorities on Tuesday.
"All conditions set for the bail have been met," a court official confirmed on Wednesday.
Naqvi, the founder of Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group, had been granted conditional bail on May 3 but was released only this week as his legal team assembled the required security bond.
UK High Court judge Michael Supperstone had dismissed a plea by the US authorities that the 58-year-old businessman would violate the terms of his bail, which also include surrender of his travel documents and arrangements akin to house arrest bound by an electronic tag.
During the May 3 hearing, the US authorities had highlighted Naqvi's connections with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and other senior officials and personalities in Pakistan, which made his flight using a private jet likely. However, Justice Supperstone had ruled that he was not persuaded by the evidence of the US government that Naqvi will fail to surrender or that he would flee to Pakistan.
Two of Naqvi's associates senior Abraaj executives Mustafa Abdel-Wadood in the US and Sev Vettivetpillai in Britain are already out on bail under strict curfew.
Naqvi is charged with inflating the value of the Dubai-based firm's holdings and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, allegations he has denied as "ludicrous".
"He maintains his innocence, and he fully expects to be cleared of any charges," his spokesperson said.

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First Published: May 29 2019 | 7:40 PM IST

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