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Corruption, Pakistan Politics

The Prime Minister’s Defense

Although I believe he is guilty, I think that the case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be difficult to establish, unless his lawyers are unable to prove that Maryam Nawaz is merely a trustee and not a beneficial owner of the properties. If she is one of the beneficial owners, and Nawaz Sharif did declare her as a beneficiary in a recent tax return or assets declaration, then he may be found guilty of mis-declaration. But, if that is not the case, here is a potential defense they may use:

  1. The flats in London are owned by offshore companies. Here are the ownership documents / title deeds from the UK Land Registry that show Neilsen Enterprises Ltd and Nescoll Ltd own the flats.
  2. The offshore companies are held by a trust.
  3. Maryam Nawaz is a trustee of the trust. In that capacity, she is a “Beneficiary” but not the “Beneficial Owner”.
  4. In any case, there have not been any distributions from the trust to date, so there was no income or assets to declare and there was no obligation to declare that interest.
  5. The trust is settled by Hussain Nawaz, who is the beneficial owner of the properties, in favor of his children, with Maryam Nawaz, his sister and person who he has complete faith in as someone who will protect his children’s interest in the event of his death, being named by him as the trustee.
  6. Here is a copy of the Trust Deed naming Maryam as the trustee, Hussain as the settlor and his children as beneficiaries.
  7. Hussain Nawaz is a non-resident overseas Pakistani and he is not required to file tax returns or wealth statements in Pakistan.
  8. The properties were purchased in the early nineties by Mian Sharif using a combination of: (a) funds from the disposal proceeds of assets and businesses owned by him in the Middle East; and (b) mortgages secured on the properties raised in the UK. The money did not originate from Pakistan. In any case, Nawaz Sharif had nothing to do with the purchase, as it was his father’s business.
  9. The money trail from the 1970s, when the initial investments in Dubai were made, relate to Mian Sharif’s businesses, not Nawaz Sharif. If there were any unlawful remittances at that time, Nawaz Sharif had nothing to do with them. Mian Sharif is now deceased, so he cannot be investigated or prosecuted.
  10. Hussain Nawaz became the beneficiary when he inherited the property from Mian Sharif, his grandfather, who died in 2004. It may have taken several months after his death before probate for the assets to be officially transferred, etc.
  11. The mortgage on the properties was settled from the proceeds of the sale of the Jeddah business, which happened in 2005. Until then, technically, the bank that had lent the money was the “owner” as the loan had not been fully paid off.
  12. So, technically, Hussain didn’t lie when he said he acquired the properties in 2006. Even if he did, that was on a television program, not under oath, and he may just have been confused about the dates or mis-remembered when asked the question by the interviewer.
  13. Nawaz Sharif’s speech in parliament explained all this. He never explicitly said he owned either the businesses or the properties. He explained how his father established businesses in Dubai and Jeddah despite politically motivated persecution. He did not explicitly state that the proceeds of the sale of the business in Jeddah were used to buy the London properties for the first time in 2006.
  14. He simply made a broad statement when he finished relating the tale of his father’s business ventures, which said: “And that, Mr Speaker, is how the flats in London were acquired.” What he meant by that statement was that his father had sufficient wealth from his successful businesses to be able to afford to buy property in London.
  15. So, the only potential unlawful activity that may be demonstrated by these revelations is the transfer of money from Pakistan to Dubai in the 1970s. However, even if that is true, Nawaz Sharif has no connection with it, and if anyone can be accused of that, it would be his father, who is now deceased.
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About Ahmer Murad

Husband, father of two boys, financial manager in the pharmaceutical industry, Liverpool fan, Karachiite. Humanity, peace & justice.

Discussion

One thought on “The Prime Minister’s Defense

  1. I agree, I had similar thoughts with some Saudi Prince’s contributions thrown in. However, there would still be issues eg

    1) the property was in sole use of NS and contradictory statements re source of funds being the Jeddah plant
    2) potential witnesses at the time of acquisition
    3) trust company’s own records (which require an authorization from Sharifs or a court order) at the time of acquisition will show that the acquisition was by MNS
    4) transfer / succession documents of papa Sharif
    5) a legal owner (ie a trustee) resident in Pakistan has to disclose these in his returns.
    6) papa sharif’s own tax returns would not disclose this asset. Remember he remained resident in Pakistan throughout.

    Plus more

    Hopefully they can’t hide everything or manufacture everything to suit themselves.

    Like

    Posted by Salman Ahmed | November 4, 2016, 6:27 am

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