Indian arrested in London; faces extradition to US on suspicion of funding terrorist organisation
Madurai-born Sundar Nagarajan now faces extradition to the US where he faces charges of helping to launder money to evade US sanctions and fund Hizbollah.
A 66-year-old Indian citizen Sundar Nagarajan has been arrested in London on suspicion of funding the proscribed terrorist organisation Hizbollah, British police said.
Sundar Nagarajan, (27.08.57) of Hayes UB3, was taken into police custody before appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon for commencement of extradition proceedings," read the Metropolitan Police press release.
Officers from the National Extradition Unit - acting on an international arrest warrant - detained Nagarajan from west London following a request by US authorities.
Madurai-born Sundar Nagarajan also known as Kasiviswanathan Naga and Nagarajan Sundar Poongulam, now faces extradition to the US where he faces charges of helping to launder money to evade US sanctions and fund Hizbollah.
Nagarajan was taken into police custody before appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon for the commencement of extradition proceedings. He was remanded to next appear at the same court on April 25, added the release.
Officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command also arrested one Nazem Ahmad on suspicion of funding terrorism, as part of a wider UK and US coordinated action targeting terrorism financing.
According to the US, the Lebanese terrorist outfit Hizbollah uses Nazem Ahmad, and his companies, to launder substantial amounts of money bound for the terrorist group and Nagarajan is the international accountant for Nazem.
Ahmad is believed to be connected to a wealthy art collector and diamond dealer and is suspected of being a funding source for Hizballah, said Metropolitan Police.Sanctions against Ahmad were announced earlier today by the UK Government. The US government also announced sanctions against Ahmad and a number of his associates, added the release.
"Today's arrests are the result of ongoing work and cooperation with our American colleagues, and are a key milestone in what is a complex investigation into terrorist financing," said Detective Chief Superintendent Gareth Rees, of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.Hezbollah is a Lebanese militant group, backed by Iran, which the UK government classified as a terrorist organisation in 2019.
Terrorist groups rely on financial support and funding for their activities and the NTFIU works closely with agencies in the UK and around the world to identify and take action against those people who provide and facilitate this funding. With our international partners, we will never give up on our mission to disrupt terrorist activity, both in the UK and abroad, in order to keep the public safe," added Rees.
The US Treasury Department had on April 18 this week unveiled sanctions on what it said was a vast international money laundering and sanctions evasion network, targeting 52 people and entities over the payment and shipment of cash, diamonds, precious gems, art and luxury goods for the benefit of Nazem Ahmad.
The network operating in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong facilitated the payment, shipment, and delivery of cash, diamonds, precious gems, art, and luxury goods for the benefit of Hizballah financier and Specially Designated Global Terrorist Nazem Said Ahmad, who was designated on December 13, 2019, for providing material support to Hizballah, the US Treasury Department said.
According to a US Treasury Department release, Sundar Nagarajan acted as Nazem Said Ahmad's primary international accountant, providing material support through his management of, and accounting for, businesses in Nazem Said Ahmad's network.
Nagarajan is the central manager of financial ledgers detailing the network's operations in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa. Sundar Nagarajan also facilitated payment for and shipment of art that Nazem Said Ahmad purchased from major auction houses and galleries, it said.