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National

Web Desk
May 9, 2016
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Clarifications from Pakistanis named in Panama Papers

Clarifications from Pakistanis named in Panama Papers

Clarifications from Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers have started pouring in after publication of the latest list of people owning offshore companies. The following are versions from people named:

Wamiq Zuberi and his wife
Company Name: CG Wealth Management Limited

Wamiq Zuberi of the Business Recorder and his wife, Dr. Rukhsana Zuberi, have been identified among those invested in an offshore company, a fact Wamiq acknowledged. He explained that they stopped investing after being defrauded and that the company was owned by somebody else who was murdered in Islamabad.

Abdul Aleem Khan
Company Name: M/s Hexam Investments Overseas Limited

I am a businessman dealing in real estate in Pakistan and outside Pakistan for the last 20 years. My business includes real estate developments, buying, selling, letting and trading of real estate assets inside and outside Pakistan. I am registered with FBR and have declared all my businesses and companies not only to the tax department but to the Election Commission of Pakistan as well. There is not a single company which I own and is not declared. I have no “bainami” accounts and businesses in any part of the world. All companies are under my name and declared with all concerned authorities.

The company (M/s. Hexam Investments Overseas Limited is declared in my wealth statement with FBR and Election Commission of Pakistan as well. This company owns following four properties:

(1) 1102 Balmoral Apartments, 2 Praed Street, London W2 1JN (2) 562 Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2RA (3) 142 Marble Arch Apartments, 11 Harrowby Street, London W1H 5PQ (4) 305 West End Quay, London W2 1JB

“These properties were purchased through mortgage finance arrangements from the bank. As I stated earlier that I never concealed any wealth and income sources from tax department. I have also declared to the Election Commission of Pakistan M/s. Hexam Investment in my nomination papers for NA-122 as well,” concludes his detailed reply.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Companies owned by her mother: Fabrics International Services Limited, Belize Group Limited, Bella Holding Group Limited

“I fully support ICIJ and the laudable efforts being made by it. I would, however, like to clarify that the information released today, also mentions my mother, Mrs. Saba Obaid. I say it with confidence that the off-shore companies mentioned in the Panama Papers as being owned by my mother are compliant with the applicable laws.”

She went on to say, “I would also like it to clarify that, contrary to the incorrect reporting, my name is not mentioned in the Panama leaks and I am neither the legal nor the beneficial owner of any enterprise mentioned in the Panama Papers.”

Ghous Akbar
Companies owned by her wife and sisters-in-law: Mark Investment Limited, IMM Gulf Limited Indigo Properties Limited, Zarmay Investments Ltd,

Ghous Akbar told The News that he had nothing to do with the companies operated by his in-laws. Mehreen, his wife who also features in different fashion shows, also disassociated herself. Responding to The News through email, she said she didn’t purchase either shares or the properties. “I can only assume that my one third share may be passed if I choose to accept my inheritance by way of succession and inheritance after our parents.”

VALLIANI FAMILY
Companies: European American Investments Limited, Polenta Capital, Ikogenia Trust, Emirates Commerce Limited

Valliani family has been identified in connection with four companies: European American, Investments Limited, Polenta Capital, Ikogenia Trust and Emirates Commerce Limited. FawazValliani (CEO of Elixir Securities), ZehraValliani (a fashion and jewellery designer in Islamabad) and their mother, Sameena Valliani.

Upon inquiry, Zehra said Fawaz (her brother) must have registered her as shareholder without her consent and that of her mother. Zehra said she was not in speaking terms with him for the last 10 years. When told that all of the companies were set up well before 10 years and in cases her passport was also found along with written notes of her mother, she feigned ignorance. Fawaz didn’t reply to questions emailed to him.

TARIQ ISLAM
Company: Link Investments Limited

"I have never had any joint money or business arrangements with BB nor did I ever act on her account in any capacity.”

My name is being dragged for political dramatization and to hurt the reputation of my revered cousin BB.

He said facts are that I do not recall incorporating an offshore co in Bahama. Even if there was one, many people form companies in anticipation of doing business sometime in future which does not materialise and the company becomes dormant.

In any event, I own no assets or bank accounts through any offshore company. Reference to BB alongside my name is particularly mischievous.

Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan and Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan
Companies: Anrol Limited and Tramalin Ltd

Questions were sent to Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan and his daughter, Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan on March 7, 2016.

An email received on April 4 by Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan reads: “The information provided by you is inaccurate and irrelevant. We are in full compliance with all laws of every jurisdiction that we may be subject to. In the event that you publish any inaccurate, proprietary or confidential information we reserve our rights to take action as appropriate under the law. If you still need any further information you may contact our taxation advisor Mr Naeem Sheikh.” Naeem Sheikh was not available for comments despite repeated calls.

Justice (retd) Malik Muhammad Qayyum and Rukhsana Qayyum
Companies Fernbridge Resources Inc and Camberwell Financial Ltd

M/s Fernbridge have been a client of mine and as such attorney-client privelege attaches, and no further comment can be made by me. I am not aware of second company.

Samina Durrani
Companies: Robinwood Limited, Star Precision, Armani River Limited,

She didn’t reply to the questions sent by The News. However, Tehmina Durrani, her daughter and wife of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has been the most honest of all. Offshore accounts, she tweets, whether legal or not are unethical, and that is worse than a crime. She thus manages to say in a few words what others struggle to comprehend.

Ahmed Ali Riaz
Company: Westhorpe International Limited

Ahmed Ali Riaz, son of property tycoon, Malik Riaz, was a shareholder of Westhorpe International Limited, a BVI registered company. When contacted, he said he had nothing to do with that company. He explained that not a single project of his was abroad. He said they had advertised their projects and attracted huge number of overseas Pakistanis who invested billions of rupees in Pakistan in these projects and this fact appears prominently in their tax statements. He maintained that nothing could be established against them despite opposition from some figures in government and some in the legal community. He said that by the Almighty’s grace, they did good work and our father, Malik Riaz, made it from scratch to the top.

Aqueel Hassan
Company name: Austell S.A.

Company: Owner of Pizza Hut (Pakistan), Aqueel Hassan and his brother, Tanwir Hassan, have been identified as the owners of Austell S.A. Aqueel said the company was created by his late brother who had a business plan for the Middle East other than Pakistan and that he was not aware whether it was used or not.

Editor-in-Chief & Chief Executive Jang Group Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman
Company name: Marine Property Limited

Editor-in-Chief & Chief Executive Jang Group Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman has presented himself for accountability after being named in Panama Papers.

In a letter, written on 4th May, to Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue and Chairman National Accountability Bureau, he stated that his name appeared in various newspapers due to one offshore company. The company was never operational, it never had a bank account nor any transaction was conducted. ICIJ and the reporter were already informed about the details. The company, Marine Property Limited was operated from Chesterfield.

In the letter, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman requested the CJP to order an inquiry with respect to the allegation regarding the offshore company.

GOHAR EJAZ
Companies: Sun International Investment Trading Limited, Platinum International Investment Limited and Platinum Real Estate Investment Limited.

Gohar earlier told The News that offshore companies are required for business in the UAE for sole ownership as otherwise a UAE citizen is required as a partner for doing business. Offshore companies can also be registered in Ras al-Khaima. Asked why he preferred British Virgin Island and Seychelles and whether he declared the companies in tax returns or not, he didn’t answer.

Sadruddin Hashwani and Murtaza Hashwani
Companies: First Global Investment Holdings Limited and Celtico Capital Management

It is customary to have holding companies incorporated offshore in the Oil & Gas sector, there are several foreign E&P companies operating in Pakistan with this structure. This is indeed quite normal not only done in Pakistan but globally as well in all parts of the world and is in practice both for private and even publically listed companies. However, please note that this in no way compromises any statutory obligation such as taxes, royalties or other payments to GoP, because the branches operating in Pakistan have to comply with local regulations and are being monitored by regulatory authorities i.e DGPC, FBR, SECP, BOI etc. Likewise, First Global is only a holding Company of Orient Petroleum International Inc, (OPII), whereas OPII was working in Pakistan through registered branch as allowed by Authorities and has fully complied the requirements of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources, SECP, BOI, FBR under the rules and regulations. Since the operation were in Pakistan so all taxes attributable to the laws of Pakistan were fully complied and deposited i.e Taxes, Royalties, Federal Excise Duties & Sales Tax into the government treasury. First Global is also meeting all the regulatory requirements as required by law in all jurisdictions without hiding any information or details.

Khawaja Iqbal Hassan and Sultan Ali Allana
Company: Swiss Fixed Income Advisors, S. A.

1) The funds you have referred to in your email were sent by UBS Securities Pakistan limited to UBS AG as these were funds owed to UBS AG. 2) UBS Pakistan was a subsidiary of UBS AG and there were many transactions that were settled on a daily basis between them through banking channels involving inflows and outflows in foreign exchange for settlement of trades and investment banking. UBS AG is one of the world’s largest banks and was at the time one of the largest participants in Pakistan’s capital markets and investment advisory businesses.3) The funds you have referred to in your email were sent through official banking channels after deduction of taxes and the remittance was made officially from the books of UBS Securities Pakistan limited and from its bank account to Swiss Fixed Income Advisers SA for making the entire payment to UBS AG by way of a bank draft.4) The entire funds you have referred to in your email were handed over to UBS AG in the form of a bank draft on which the beneficiary is clearly stated as UBS AG. UBS AG has evidenced receiving this bank draft. As such the entire amount of funds officially remitted was after deduction of taxes and paid officially to UBS AG.

Shahid Nazir
Company: Redford International Ltd

Shahid Nazir, CEO of Masood Textile Mills, has been identified in connection with a Bahamas-based company, Redford International Ltd, registered in 2000. Power of attorney was granted in his favour and that of Naziya Nazir with bank account at ABN AMRO N.V. London. Questions sent for version were returned with an objection that “This is not my wife’s name.” As a matter of fact, The News didn’t claim that Naziya is his wife and that was explained.

HASEEB WAQAS GROUP/ILYAS MEHRAJCompany: Haylandale Limited

Ilyas Mehraj categorically denied this impression. “We have read the contents of your email and are surprised at the contents thereof. We are not aware of any company whether incorporated in the Commonwealth of Bahamas or anywhere else under the name: Haylandale Ltd. The question of our Group, which is Haseeb Waqas or Mr. Ilyas Mehraj having any shares of the said company, does not arise. Therefore, we are unable to answer the queries on the same,” his spokesman replied.

Benazir Bhutto
Company name: Petroline International Inc

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) termed the inclusion of the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in the PanamaLeaks for owning an offshore company as part of a smear campaign through unsubstantiated allegations.The party said it was not for the first time that the name of the former prime minister was used in a smear campaign .“When the report of the oil for food programme first surfaced over a decade ago, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) dispatched its prosecutors and investigators to Spain for investigation. However, the NAB persecutors returned empty-handed when the Spanish magistrate found no proof of wrongdoing and closed the case,” said the PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar while commenting on reports of the media mentioning the name of Benazir Bhutto in the oil-for-food programme in Iraq.Babar said those who wanted to smear the name of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto should first look up the past record.

REHMAN MALIK
Company name: Petroline International Inc

“Neither I, nor Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had any account in Panama or any tax heaven around the world and I did ‘legal’ business under United Nation’s Oil for Food Programme,” he clarified while talking to media outside at the Parliament House.

HUSSAIN NAWAZ
Company name: Coomber Group Inc

Hussain Nawaz said he owned the offshore companies that were used for purchasing properties in London.

He said he had been living abroad for many years and had invested there. He said that the family members accompanying him had certain privileges under Pakistani laws. He maintained that he had been doing business according to Pakistan’s foreign act and other Pakistani laws including the income tax laws.

Hussain said that the business community was in the know of many people who do not need to file their income tax papers if they live abroad for 180 days or more. Those who work abroad, he explained, know the fact that they are not questioned about their source of income.

He said that he had stated this time and again that Pervez Musharraf had extensively probed their business issues but he could not establish anything illegal against them.

Hussain said his family did not indulge in corruption, did not whiten black money and what was earned was through labour. He said their’s was a business family that had done real hard work before starting politics. He said they do hard work with honesty, but sadly some people were levelling allegations against them.

Hussain Nawaz said it is a common perception that they took loans from banks. “That means we deal in businesses of lakhs of rupees. “There are many others who are running businesses in others’ names, but we fully follow all rules and regulations in doing any business,” Hussain added.

He said Nawaz Sharif’s name was being used wrongly and all accusations being levelled against him were baseless. “I have already said that my sister Maryam is a trustee of our offshore companies. Her name has been included as a trustee like various other people,” he said adding that a trustee is not the owner. All legal brains know it well that no trustee remains the owner of any business after his/her death and all businesses are run according to certain rules and regulations.

MARYAM NAWAZ SHARIF
Company names: Nescoll Limited, Nielsen Enterprises Ltd and Coomber Group Inc

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said she did not own any company or property abroad.

“My brother has made me a trustee in one of his corporations which only entitles me to distribute assets to my brother Hussain’s family/children if needed,” Maryam wrote on her verified Twitter account.

“The info provided by leaks does not say any wrongdoing involved,” she said. Criticizing the media, Maryam said: “Distortion is willful that a couple of media channels using to settle scores”.

She also posted a two-page Sharif family’s official response to what she called “distortion of information” given in Panama Leaks. Maryam said her brother has already issued clarification and no further clarification is required.

Aqueela Mumtaz and Faisal Fareed Company name: Agri Link Limited

The company has no bank account and has never conducted any transaction business related or property related. In fact if you look at the details the company was never renewed after the first year and has therefore ceased to exist.

Saifullah family
Companies: Owner of 34 companies

A family spokesperson has clarified that no member of Saifullah family is involved in corruption.

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