Jabir Moti, referred to as a "top lieutenant" of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim's D Company, used American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's suicide to decry prison conditions in the US as he appeared before a UK court in his ongoing fight against his extradition.
Moti is fighting his extradition to the US at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on charges of laundering around USD 1.4 million on behalf of the criminal network.
Moti's barrister Edward Fitzgerald deposed two retired prison wardens via videolink from the US on Monday to establish that his client would be at risk of committing suicide if he was to be extradited to a New York prison.
One of the prison facilities in question, the Metropolitan Correctional Centre (MCC), is where Epstein was found dead in August.
Epstein's suicide hit worldwide headlines due to his high-profile connections, including alleged links with Britain's Prince Andrew - the younger son of Queen Elizabeth II.
"I don't believe his mental health needs will be met [in prison], especially since the Epstein suicide," said Maureen Baird, a former Warden at MCC.
The hearing, presided over by Judge John Zani at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, also heard evidence from a former Warden at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in nearby Brooklyn, where Moti is expected to be held in pre-trial detention if he were to be extradited.
The hearing on Monday concluded the evidence stage of the extradition trial, with closing submissions to be made before Judge Zani on November 27 — the date when he will set a timeframe to deliver his verdict.
At previous hearings in the case in July, the UK court has heard that Ibrahim is a fugitive from Indian justice and currently in exile in Pakistan.
Westminster Magistrates' Court was told that Dawood is wanted for coordinated bombings in Mumbai in 1993 that killed more than 200 people and because Moti is linked to the "designated terrorist" he would be at risk of being held in extreme pre-trial detention conditions were he to be extradited to the US.
"The head of D Company is Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian Muslim currently in exile in Pakistan. Dawood Ibrahim and his brother and top lieutenant, Anis Ibrahim, have been fugitives from India since 1993, when D Company was implicated in coordinated bombings in Mumbai that killed more than 200 people," according to excerpts of a US Attorney's affidavit for extradition read out by Moti's barrister previously.
"The present investigation has revealed that Jabir Motiwala is a top lieutenant in D Company who reports directly to Dawood Ibrahim," he added.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), on behalf of the US government, has tried to establish the US Attorney's "express declaration" that Moti will be detained under humane conditions.
CPS barrister John Hardy has previously said that even though Dawood Ibrahim is a "designated terrorist" by the FBI, D Company – an international criminal network based in Pakistan, India and the UAE – is not a designated organisation.
"Mr Moti is not being pursued at trial as a terrorist," Hardy noted.
Moti aka Motiwala aka Siddiq, a Pakistani National, appeared in the dock for the hearing appearing downcast throughout the hearing.
Besides money laundering, he faces extradition to the US on charges of extortion and conspiracy to import unlawful substances such as heroine after his arrest by Scotland Yard's Extradition Unit last year.