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Thursday, February 15, 2024

MQM’s Altaf Hussain fined by the UK for tax evasion of over £2 million

MQM founder Altaf Hussain has been fined by the UK government for tax evasion of more than 2 million pounds as investigation into the case continues.

A British investigation is underway against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, to determine the full extent of tax evaded by the Pakistani political leader. The same has been fined £2 million for tax evasion in the European country.

Altaf Hussain has been fined for not paying over £2 million to the British exchequer over a period of 20 years from large earnings running into millions of pounds.

Investigation into MQM’s Altaf Hussain for tax evasion

The tax investigation is based on income, payments, assets accumulation and National Insurance contributions which were never paid between 1995 and 2015. The investigation is based on the estimated income and monthly expenditures of the MQM leader and his workers.

It is reported that the the cumulative expenditure of the MQM leader, which includes only his domestic payments and settlement payment to former wife and daughter, is £50,000 per month. This amount though, does not include the guard of officers that man his London office.

At his home in Edgware, Hussain is protected round-the-clock by three full-time bouncers, two maids, a full-time driver, and a cook.

Read more: Extradition of Altaf Hussain: Interior Ministry calls a meeting

Dozens of people are on the MQM payroll, in a part-time capacity at the party’s international secretariat. Many of them also received government benefits for living and income.

Altaf  Hussain contests tax evasion charges, says was not obliged to pay tax

Altaf Hussain exerts that he has been managing his life through donations given by loyalists from Pakistan and abroad, and as head of a political party he was entrusted to use those funds to maintain his lifestyle – free of taxes.

Under this purview, the MQM founder has contested all civil proceedings against him, stating that he never earned any money, has never been employed and was not obliged to pay income tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Although the MQM leader has contested the fine through his lawyers – this investigation is of a criminal nature, and is so wide-ranging that it has badly impacted the financial situation of the Hussain.

Sources within the MQM have confirmed that the HMRC’s investigation is amongst the main reasons behind Muhammad Anwar and Tariq Mir’s decision to part ways with him.

Read more: UK considers hate charges against Altaf Hussain

Altaf Hussain at odds with Mir and Anwar as investigation ensues

Both Mir and Anwar dealt with taxation and financial issues for the party for over two years – until relations broke down around four years ago.

Mir and Anwar are qualified accountants and were responsible for the financial and tax matters of Hussain. Both provided a base to the MQM founder in 1994 at their accountancy firm in Mill Hill when Altaf left Karachi for London.

The MQM founder blames Mir and Anwar for not guiding him properly and for failing to pay dues to the government. This was why Altaf Hussain asked his followers to protest outside Mir’s residential address in 2019.

Both Anwar and Mir have been named in the HMRC investigation and Hussain’s lawyers have told the government department that the blame for not paying the arrears and dues should rest with them as he personally did not handle any financial matters.

Read More: Evidence sufficient to charge Altaf Hussain: Pakistan

The HMRC has not blamed Mir and Anwar of any wrongdoing. Mir and Anwar have told the investigators that Hussain did not listen to their advice on managing monies, and was the sole person to decide where the funds were to be allocated.

Hussain, Mir and Anwar have been at odds over the transfer of two properties worth nearly £1.5 million to the MQM founder’s name.

Anwar and Mir legal owners of MQM properties

Anwar and Mir are titleholders – and legal owners of 221 Whitchurch Lane and 185 Whitchurch lane properties, however, MQM is the beneficial owner of the properties. Although, currently the two properties are occupied by the people close to Hussain, legally Anwar and Mir are owners of the properties.

When Altaf Hussain pressed them to transfer the properties, Mir and Anwar told him privately first and then through lawyers they that they are awaiting the final resolution of the HMRC case. In a legal letter sent to Hussain, Anwar and Mir had written that “the on-going HMRC inquiry” was their concern and that they expected Hussain to discharge all dues, arrears or penalties payable to the HMRC.

Read More: Bhai Taken Again: Scotland Yard detains MQM founder Altaf Hussain

Both of them have further said that they will not be transferring the two properties to Altaf Hussain under any circumstances.  They have said that one property will be transferred to Dr Imran Farooq’s widow Shumaila Imran Farooq and the other to the relatives of MQM-Pakistan’s martyrs.

The HMRC is currently of the view that paying taxes was the responsibility of Altaf Hussain, not any other individual or anyone else associated with him.

GVS News Desk