Image: Zola Tongo
Gallo Images  /  Getty Images Contributor
Zola Tongo covers his face after being sentenced to 18 years in prison for his part in the murder of Anni Dewani on Tuesday.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/8/2010 5:33:19 AM ET 2010-12-08T10:33:19

A millionaire whose wife was murdered while the couple were on honeymoon in South Africa has been arrested by British police on suspicion he planned the killing, officials said Wednesday.

Shrien Dewani, 30, was taken into custody on behalf of South African authorities after turning himself in to police, Scotland Yard said. His Swedish wife, Anni Dewani, died in an apparent carjacking last month.

A South African man convicted in the former model's murder said Tuesday that her husband paid to have her killed.

Story: Husband implicated in S. Africa honeymoon killing

She was found dead after the couple's taxi was hijacked in Gugulethu township — a high-crime area about 15 miles from Cape Town's city center. She died of a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Shrien Dewani, who has denied any involvement in his wife's death, is due to appear at a London court later Wednesday.

He has accused the South African authorities of trying to shift the blame in order to avoid embarrassment in a case that has put the spotlight on violent crime in South Africa.

"I'm totally innocent of any involvement in this horrendous crime. These allegations are totally ludicrous and ... very hurtful to a young man who is grieving the loss of the woman he loved," Dewani said in a statement.

'Ridiculous situation'
Max Clifford, who is serving as Dewani's spokesman, told Britain's Channel 4 News that his client was "shellshocked and traumatized" after spending the night in custody.

Clifford said Dewani's lawyers were trying to "get to the bottom of what deal was done with a convicted murderer to get to this ridiculous situation."

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South African authorities say they have started the extradition process, but that it is in its very early stages.

On Tuesday, South African state prosecutor Rodney de Kock told the Western Cape High Court that taxi driver Zola Tongo, arrested after the murder, was offered 15,000 rand ($2,165) by Dewani as part of plot.

"The deceased was murdered at the instance of her husband," de Kock said in reading out a plea-bargain agreement in which Tongo pleaded guilty to all four charges, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The court was told that Dewani, who runs a nursing home business, approached Tongo shortly after arriving in South Africa and helped mastermind the murder.

Tongo was sentenced to 18 years in prison while two of his co-accused remain in prison.

South African police said they requested the arrest of Dewani.

"A warrant of arrest was issued from South Africa yesterday and an arrest was effected. At this stage we cannot disclose when he is coming to South Africa," police spokesman Nonkululeko Mbatha said.

The Associated Press, Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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