Exaro News Archive

Co-manager of guest house in police probe plans to leave UK

Haroon Kasir makes hurried preparations to raise £60k and applies for visa to live in US

By Fiona O’Cleirigh and David Hencke | 16 February 2013

Co-manager of guest house in police probe plans to leave UKExaro has uncovered plans by a key figure at the centre of a police investigation into a VIP paedophile ring to leave the country.

Haroon Kasir, known as Harry, ran Elm Guest House with his late wife, Carole, for about four years from 1979 in Barnes, south-west London. Confidential legal papers seen by Exaro reveal that he has made hurried plans to raise nearly £60,000 by the end of month, and he has applied for a visa to live in America.

Sources close to Kasir, who has been besieged ever since Exaro tracked him down last month, believe that he is planning to start a new life in the American state of Connecticut with his 40-year-old son, who already lives there.

The Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit is investigating allegations, under Under ‘Operation Fernbridge’, that boys were sexually abused at the guest house by prominent people – including MPs – and others.

Detectives have raided Kasir’s home in Richmond, close to where the guest house used to operate. They did not arrest him, but were intending to speak to him again as a central figure in the unfolding saga. Exaro tonight alerted the police to Kasir’s plans to leave the country.

Records at the land registry show that Kasir jointly owns a house with a former partner, who had no connection with his past at Elm Guest House.

Legal documents seen by Exaro show that he owns 25 per cent of the property, and that he is desperate for the cash.

The property has a valuation of “at least £450,000”, according to his estimate. He values his portion, after clearing an outstanding mortgage, at around £76,000.

Kasir rejected a counter-offer of £40,000, and threatened to force the sale of the property.

However, in his attempt to secure a swift conclusion to the deal, he agreed last month to accept £58,309.52.

But, according to the legal agreement, the cash must be paid by February 25, or else he would force the sale of the property and claim his full 25 per cent share.

The former partner declined to comment, but detectives on Operation Fernbridge visited her some weeks ago.

Bank statements seen by Exaro show that Kasir receives benefits every month of around £330.

A separate source close to Kasir revealed that he has applied for a visa to live in America – not merely visit as a tourist – and is trying to raise cash for his trip.

Well-placed sources say that Kasir, 68, has UK and Pakistani passports. He is thought to be using his UK passport for his application for a US visa.

Kasir is refusing to comment.

Exaro worked with The Sunday People and Channel 4 News on further reports about Kasir’s role. He has felt the heat rising as many journalists from other newspapers have followed up Exaro’s reports, visiting him at his home and at the charity where he is a driver.

After a police raid on Elm Guest House in 1982, Kasir and his wife, who died suddenly in 1990, were convicted at the Old Bailey of running a disorderly house – meaning a brothel – and fined £1,000 each. They were given nine-month prison sentences, suspended for two years.

The jury acquitted them of living off the earnings of a male prostitute who acted as a masseur in the solarium, but was unable to agree on a charge of ill-treatment of a boy found at the house.

The judge directed the jury to find the couple not guilty of possessing “for gain” five obscene videos because the accusation was covered by the charge of running a disorderly house.

On Thursday, Richmond’s former head of children’s services, Terry Earland, said that he had “no doubt” that boys were sexually abused at Elm Guest House.

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Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.