Bangladeshi Tory donor faces jail

A former Bangladeshi army officer based in Britain, who donated £20,000 to the British Conservative party, is facing a jail term in his home country after being charged with funding terror groups there, as well as illegal arms dealing, fraud and money-laundering offences.

In January, counter terrorism police raided the Dhaka home of Mohammed Shahid Uddin Khan, previously a colonel in the Bangladeshi army, and allegedly discovered radical literature linked to al-Qaeda, weapons and fake Bangladeshi currency. They also uncovered 54 bank accounts held by Khan, which provide evidence of money-laundering and funding of terrorism.

This is not the first time Khan has found himself in hot water. In 2005 he was tried by a Bangladeshi military court martial on various criminal charges, including fraud and misappropriation of money. He was found guilty and cashiered from the army.

Khan currently resides in Wimbledon, southwest London, where he has lived since 2009, when he bought a multimillion-pound ‘golden visa’ to the UK to ensure he and his family could remain indefinitely.

As reported in the April issue of Asian Affairs, Khan is claiming political asylum in Britain, despite the charges levelled against him. He cannot be extradited to Bangladesh as long as he holds that status. This raises worrying questions about the willingness of Britain, and other countries, to grant political asylum to those clearly engaged in dangerous criminal activities.

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