March 15, 2013Print : National
GENEVA/LONDON: The litigation case between the Deutsche Bank and Pakistan’s former minister for investment and privatisation Waqar Ahmed Khan involving around £54 million entered a critical new phase on Wednesday when Mr Justice Nicholas Hamblen delivered a judgement in favour of the bank. The bank had abandoned the claim against the family just before the trial - maintaining a claim for just £46,000 - which means the judgement has been made against the seven offshore companies associated with the Khan family but the verdict will be issued after a hearing on April 19 at the Commercial Court, Royal Courts of Justice.
The judge said in the judgement this case started off as “a simple debt and possession action” and although the Khan family fought the case tooth and nail “those defences/claims fail and that the case is in reality a simple debt and possession claim enforceable in accordance with the terms of the parties’ written contracts”. Richard Slade, the family lawyer said after the judgment was handed down: “It turns out that we owe them just £46,000. It’s a pity they didn’t tell us that beforehand - they’re welcome to the money. Until almost the doors of the court, they were insisting that we owed them £54 million. We shall be seeking our costs of the proceedings.”
Senator Khan told The News over telephone from Pakistan: “The important thing here is my and my family’s position, in relation to which we were completely vindicated.”
A spokesman for the family, Mr Rashad Yaqoob, was critical of the judgment. He told The News that the Deutsche Bank entered into a binding contract to lend £66 million but in the event had loaned only £55 million. “The implication of this judgment is that the borrowers were committed - even though the Bank was not. This judgment flies in the face of the appeal courts’ direction of travel. The higher courts have increasingly stressed the importance of reviewing all the surrounding facts in interpreting the parties’ contract and of reaching a businesslike and commercial interpretation of the words they have used. We shall be seeking leave to appeal.”
The Deutsche bank wanted to recoup a £50m loan but the Khan family had launched a damages claim of around £60m from Deutsche. The bank initially agreed to pay £65m to the Khan family but withheld £10 million - the amount that is at the centre of the Khan family’s claim against the bank. Of the £55 million total loaned amount, the Khan family paid back £7m to the bank but the bank had added interest rate and wants £55 million from the Khans.
Senator Waqar had accused the Deutsche Bank, especially its private banker and Khan family’s trusted banker Nasim Ahmad, of cheating and defrauding him and four of his family members. He had alleged that despite signing the loan agreement, Deutsche unlawfully changed their mind to lend the full amount and then tried to cover up their mistake by sending one of their relationship managers - Mr Nasim Ahmad, a family friend of the Khans - to the family home of the Khans in Lahore to obtain signature of a document allowing the bank to reduce the amount to be drawn down by £11 million.