As Britain is planning to abolish its golden visa program, which gives foreign nationals a path to residency if they invest at least US$2.7 million, authorities in London may revoke visa issued to Shahid Uddin Khan, a notorious terror-funder, drug and arms dealer, and fugitive convicted criminal, who is wanted by Interpol for years.
As of the end of March 2020, the UK government issued 2,581 visas to Russian citizens under the program since its launch in 2008. A report commissioned on the program by lawmakers in 2020 concluded that “the UK welcomed Russian money, and few questions — if any — were asked about the provenance of this considerable wealth”.
Although the United Kingdom may now abolish its scandalous golden visa program, by now hundreds of corrupt individuals, terrorists, militancy-funders, drug and arms dealers and Interpol wanted fugitives have succeeded in taking advantage of golden visa.
Transparency International, which has highlighted the widespread fraud and corruption in investment-visa programs for years, said simply ending the programs is not enough. The group has called on governments to also consider revoking existing citizenships and visas from individuals’ governments deemed “suspicious” based on financial transactions and sources of funds.
“Over the last decade, corrupt public officials and business people bought up golden passports and visas, helping to conceal their assets and identities”, said Maira Martini, Transparency International’s expert on corrupt money flows. “Russians reportedly make up half of those who have acquired citizenship using this route. Scandals have shown that these opaque schemes are not about genuine investment or immigration”.
Efforts to shutdown or limit the programs have faced stiff opposition from the law firms, investment companies and government agencies that have benefitted. The business of selling visas and passports has exploded to over US$21 billion a year, according to Investment Migration Insider. It’s expected to grow to over US$100 billion in revenue by 2025, according to the publication.
The case of Interpol wanted fugitive Shahid Uddin Khan
According to newspaper reports, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and members of his family had smuggled-out millions of dollars from Bangladesh since 2009 and deposited into various bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates. This family also has purchased immigrant status in Britain under Visa Tier 1, VAF Number 511702, and invested over 12 million pounds, while the entire amount had been dirty money. They also established a company named Zumana Investment & Properties Limited, Incorporation certificate number 0741417, dated October 25, 2010. The registered office of this company is located at Unit 29 Eleanor Street, London, E3 4UR, United Kingdom.
Sitting in Britain, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan and his family are operating their businesses in Dubai [in United Arab Emirates]. According to newspaper reports, this family is having business relations with notorious Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company and has been involved in trafficking in drugs and arms.
The Khans also are also funding Islamic State as well as other militancy groups and madrasas.
On January 17, 2019, the Dhaka (Bangladesh) residence of this family was raided by the members of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police. During this raid, a huge volume of arms, ammunition, detonators, explosives, counterfeit currency note, Islamic State propaganda materials, and recruitment tools. In the seized documents, CTTC also found evidence of the Khan family’s involvement in terror financing.
Three separate cases were lodged on the same day with the Cantonment Police Station in this regard against Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, Farjana Anjum Khan, Shehtaz Munasi Khan, and Parisa Pinaz Khan. These include, CR case number 4466/2009, dated December 30, 2009, under section 416, 467, 471 and 109 of the Bangladesh Penal Code, which is under trial with the Court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate; Case number 10, dated January 17, 2019, under section 6 (2), 7, 11 and 12 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009; Case number 11, dated January 17, 2019, under section 25/A of the Special Powers Act of 1974; and Case number 12, dated January 17, 2019, under section 19/A of the Arms Act of 1878.
It was earlier reported that Md. Shahid Uddin Khan sent few thousand dollars to one of his jihadist counterpart days before the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
Shahid Uddin Khan is a donor of Britain’s Tory Party.
According to British paper The Sunday Times, Khan has donated £20,000 to the Conservative party [Tory Party] and has lived in the UK capital since 2009, when he bought a multimillion-pound “golden visa” to ensure he and his family could stay in the country.
Bangladeshi police said they found detonators, weapons, radical literature linked to Al Qaeda and fake Bangladeshi currency in Shahid Uddin Khan’s home.
They said they have uncovered 54 bank accounts held by the donor, which provide evidence of money laundering and funding of terrorism.