Altaf Hussain, other MQM leaders fined £1.5 million in UK

Picture source: MQM website
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Altaf Hussain and Syed Tariq Mir are among the senior members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leadership who have been found liable by a court for failing to pay approximately £1.5 million in taxes to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK government’s tax and income collection agency.

The judgment in default was handed down by Judge Henley of Northampton County Court in response to a request made by the HMRC in its ongoing civil tax and income dispute with the MQM leadership.

Hussain Mir, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Mohammed Kalimullah Syed, the MQM’s founder, and leader, have all been found guilty in the case that the HMRC filed before the court.

There will be a judgment in default of defense against Mir, Hussain, and Kalimullah for a total of £1,476,406.06, according to the default judgment. According to the ruling, the claim against the second defendant, Iftikhar Hussain, continues as a challenged claim.

The order was granted on a party’s application without notice, according to the judgment, therefore MQM defendants have the right to request that it be set aside, altered, or postponed.

Hussain, Mir, and the other defendants deny any wrongdoing, and the judgment is not a finding of guilt or criminality because it relates to a civil dispute that has been ongoing for a while.

During the investigation into Hussain and his associates for money laundering, the HMRC opened a case of income tax evasion.

Scotland Yard concluded its nearly four-year investigation into Hussain and others after discovering no evidence of money laundering, but at the same time, the investigators learned that the MQM had received donations from Pakistan and around the world, which HMRC had classified as income, and that several people were employed at the MQM International Secretariat and were being paid regular monthly wages, some of which were quite well.

The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, which an employer employs to withhold Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before disbursing wages, is at the crux of the dispute.

The same case resulted in a £2 million tax evasion fine for Hussain’s MQM from the UK government three years prior. The MQM leader has disputed the allegations and maintains that he is not liable for his coworkers’ failure to keep the accounting records accurate and compliant with the UK government’s rules regarding taxes and incomes.

The UK government’s tax inquiry is focused on alleged underpayments of income, payments, and National Insurance contributions from 1995 to 2015.

The MQM founder has challenged the civil actions, claiming that because he has never held a job and is not required to pay income tax to HMRC, he has never made any money.

He has admitted to the investigators that he has been supporting himself through donations from both domestic and foreign supporters. He was given the freedom to utilize those monies to support his lifestyle as the leader of a political party, free from paying taxes.

According to MQM London, Anwar, and Mir, who are both certified accountants, were in charge of the party’s finances and tax affairs as well as those of its founder Hussain. According to the party, the pair told Hussain that because the MQM-London was not a registered and incorporated company, he was exempt from paying income tax.

After Muhammad Anwar passed away three years ago, his name was taken out of the probe.

When approached by The News, Mir claimed that he was unrelated to the MQM’s tax issues and that he would be presenting his case to the HMRC.

Mir claimed that up until 2012, he managed MQM’s finances and provided Hussain with expert advice.

“I engaged a professional accounting firm to handle the MQM’s financial problems; I did not handle these matters myself. I offered the MQM founder guidance, but many of my suggestions, especially those about tax matters, went unheeded.

I left MQM active politics in 2014 due to disagreements, worked part-time in the MQM office until around 2016, and then was totally cut off from the party leadership, according to Mir.

“I have instructed my lawyers to engage with the HMRC and explain my position,” he continued.