Extradition trial of Indian national arrested in UK to start next year
Nagarajan was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on April 18
AN Indian national who was arrested in the UK on a provisional US warrant as part of a coordinated action targeting terrorism financing will challenge his extradition on human rights and dual criminality grounds, a court in London was told on Wednesday (12).
Madurai-born Sundar Nagarajan, 65, appeared via videolink from prison at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing and district judge John Zani agreed on a tentative timetable for a two-day extradition hearing on January 22 and 23, 2024.
Both sides are expected to submit their evidence, skeleton arguments and replies by January 14 next year.
“I anticipate this will be a case with some complications,” the judge noted, as he set the dates to be finalised after the Chief Magistrate assigns a judge for the hearing in the new year.
Nagarajan’s barrister, George Hepburne Scott, told the court that he will be challenging the extradition on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the UK is a signatory, and also on the grounds of “dual criminality” without going into details.
Barrister Mark Summers, appearing on behalf of the US government for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), asked for further details on these grounds of challenge when the first set of arguments are submitted by August 9.
Sundar Nagarajan, also known as Nagarajan Sundar Poongulam Kasiviswanathan Naga and Sundar Poongulam K Nagarajan Nagarajan and having addresses in the UK and Belgium, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police’s national extradition unit from an address at Hayes in west London on April 18.
The court heard that armed police officers stormed his home to arrest him and seize his belongings.
Earlier, the CPS told the court that Nagarajan is the accountant linked to the finances of the designated Hizballah terrorist organisation and is wanted by the US authorities for fraud and money laundering offences.
His arrest followed action by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command to arrest a 50-year-old man in Wales on suspicion of funding terrorism.
“The ongoing investigation and arrest by the NTFIU [National Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit] relates to suspected terrorist financing and money laundering, which is believed to be connected to wealthy art collector and diamond dealer, Nazem Ahmad,” the Met Police said.
Ahmad is suspected of being a funding source for Hizballah, a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and US.
Sanctions against Ahmad were announced by the UK government alongside the US government and a number of his suspected associates, including Nagarajan.