Ex-UKIP spokesman Mujeeb Bhutto 'was Pakistan gang leader'
A man who served as UKIP's Commonwealth spokesman for a year is the former leader of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan, BBC Newsnight can reveal.
Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto's gang were behind a high-profile kidnapping in Karachi in 2004 and he then took a £56,000 ransom payment in Manchester.
In 2005, Bhutto, of Leeds, admitted being the gang's "boss" and was jailed for seven years by a UK court.
UKIP said Bhutto, 35, had "recently" resigned his party membership.
A party spokesman said: "When we recently became aware of possible issues relating to his past and raised the matter with him, he resigned his membership."
Bhutto, who said he had left the party in December, told Newsnight he had admitted the charges against him in 2005 rather than risk being sent back to Pakistan and hanged.
"The evidence which was bought against me was from Pakistan. The allegation was simply because of political rivalry," he said.
He said he planned to appeal against his conviction for conspiracy to blackmail.
Bhutto said he had been granted political asylum in the UK in 2008 and that the case against him in Pakistan had been thrown out by the country's Supreme Court.
Jim Reed reports for Newsnight.
04 Feb 2014