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June 25,2018

Who owns most of offshore companies?

Umar Cheema
(L-R) Javed Saifullah, Anwar Saifullah and Humayun Saifullah of Lakki Marwat.

ISLAMABAD: If Panama Papers documents are any guide, Saifullahs of Lakki Marwat have the highest number of offshore companies owned by any Pakistani family and majority of them are in British Virgin Islands. Seychelles and Panama are two other jurisdictions where they have set up companies.

While the source of wealth which run into millions of dollars has been declared in most of the cases as “sale of family business”, the companies are either doing business with each other or being used for investment in the real estate, stock exchanges, assets managements or solar energy in USA, UK and Portugal. Bank accounts of the companies are in the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and Ireland.

Borrowing from other offshore companies owned by this politico-business family has been described as the funding source in cases where “sale of family business” has not been referred. In a few cases, business has been mentioned as funding source.

This correspondent could trace as many as 35 companies identified in connection with Saif family; majority of them are in the British Virgin Islands (24) which followed Seychelles (8), Panama (1) and jurisdictions of two companies couldn’t be disputed. All except one company were found in Panama Papers released earlier and the family didn’t offer any comment when contacted then.

The leak of new batch of document shared by ICIJ with The News has offered further details of companies, the source of funds and the nature of business etc. Ownership of the companies earlier held secret through bearer shares was declared most recently and surfaced in newly obtained documents.

Braddon Corporate Holdings Limited was the first company set up by Saifullahs in 2003. An influx of registration was witnessed in 2007 when they incorporated as many as 10 offshore companies followed by eight in 2009. Taking by an average, the family set up two companies each year from 2003 onward 2017.

Fair Oaks Ltd is the last company set up in Panama in 2017, one year after the release of Panama Papers. Javed Saifullah Khan who leads the family with 17 companies in which he is either sole owner or shareholder, had registered Fair Oaks.

A letter from Dattani Chartered Accounts to Mossack Fonseca, Panamanian law firm whose data was leaked, describes the purpose of its setting up: “Mr. Khan has recently transferred 3 investment companies to a UK company…..We would like to place an additional holding company (Fair Oaks Ltd) in between Mr. Khan and a UK company.”

In its funding source, the letter mentions yet another two companies that Javed has in UK: (1) Steinmetz Investments LLP which finances shall scale solar projects in UK and (2) Halkins Investments LLP which is an asset management and finance boutique regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.” A banker of Pakistani origin who was shareholder in past of an offshore company owned by Javed, is CEO of Halkins. Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is on Halkins’ advisory board.

Another offshore company of Javed, Oil & Gas International Holdings Ltd, has invested in his Pakistani business. Its activity is “Holding in Saif Energy Ltd which is an oil & gas exploration company in Pakistan,” reads an email sent to Mossack Fonseca. Source of funds has been mentioned as “proceed from business trade.”

Anwar Saifullah Khan, former petroleum minister, and Humayun Saifullah Khan, former MNA, owns second highest number of companies among family members. Each of them have 13 companies wherein they are sole beneficial owners or shareholders together with others brothers. Saleem Saifullah Khan, former federal minister, and his brother, Dr, Iqbal Saifullah Khan own or hold shares in 11 companies each whereas Jehangir Saifullah Khan, son of Javed, in seven and Osman Saifullah Khan in six companies.

Saif Capital Partners, a British Virgin Islands based company, owned by Answar does private equity investment in solar energy in USA. NC Prime Management, his yet another offshore company describes its activity as “property investments” in UK. The company’s estimated value of transaction per year has been described as 1.5 million pounds.

Its funding source is another offshore company, Great Pyramid Development Limited which is also financing Blue Danube UK Limited, Anwar’s company which has invested in UK’s stock exchange. Its estimated value of the transaction carried out per year of 500,000 dollars. Estimated value of net worth has been described between 1-5 million dollars.

Incidentally, Great Pyramid Development Limited is also funding source of Humayun Saifullah’s Nike Phoros Ltd, Saleem Saifullah’s Shays Limited and Iqbal Saifullah’s Grand Rapids UK Limited who have invested in UK’s stock exchange.

Braddon Corporate Holdings Limited, an offshore company, is sole shareholder of another offshore company, UK Property Investments Limited owned by former Senator Osman Saifullah Khan, which holds property in UK. Osman is son of Anwar.

The family has also invested in the real estate of Portugal through its offshore company, Brayland Limited. All five brothers: Anwar Saifullah Khan, Javed Saifullah Khan, Humayun Saifullah Khan, Saleem Saifullah Khan and Dr. Iqbal Saifullah Khan are its shareholders.

An email correspondence on December 4, 2017 describes four million euro as estimated transaction carried out through this company whereas sources of funds has been mentioned as “loan from the existing companies within the existing structure.” There is another joint business venture of property investment of Anwar and Humayun through a company, Real Estate Commercial.

As many as six companies in British Virgin Islands appears to have been set up for holding shares in BVI companies. All five brothers are shareholders of Aqua Falls Limited, Great Pyramid Development Limited and Delta Nominees Limited whereas Duxford is solely owned by Humayun Saifullah, Kempley Iqbal Saifullah and Ashby Saleem Saifullah. In each case, activities of the company has been described either as “holding shares in British Virgin Islands companies” or “investment into other group companies registered in British Virgin Islands.” Sale of family business has been described as a source of wealth of the beneficial owners of these companies. What was that business remains to be explored by investigators.


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