Thursday April 25, 2024

Broadsheet threatens to seize Pak cricket assets

By Wajid Ali Syed
July 27, 2020

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s cricket team might find itself in an awkward situation if bailiffs move to seize its equipment and other assets during its UK tour.

Broadsheet LLC., the company that won the arbitration case against the state of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), has already sought court orders instructing professional bailiffs “to seize the assets of the Pakistani cricket team" and their action will commence in two days.

In a letter sent to Islamabad's counsel, Allen & Overy, the company has argued that the state of Pakistan and NAB have failed to pay the award money it owes, more than 33 million dollars. On top of that they have also refused to engage in any such correspondence for months. "The Pakistan cricket team is currently in the UK preparing for a Test series against England," the letter sent by Broadsheet LLC says, "We consider that the team is, by the very nature, an asset of the defendant and that monies due to the team and assets of the team are assets of the defendant to the litigation." It further asks Pakistan's counsel that if they disagree with the position then they should respond soon or otherwise the company will enforce the warning.

In July last year Pakistan lost the case against Broadsheet LLC, as its plea was dismissed by the London High Court. As claimants, the NAB and the state of Pakistan, had appealed to review the award decision. Broadsheet LLC. was hired by the NAB during former President Pervez Musharraf's regime to investigate hidden assets of over 150 Pakistanis abroad including the Sharif family. The agreement was terminated by the NAB in 2003, after which Pakistan owed damages to the company.

By September last year, the company reached out to the London High Court to help recover the award money from Islamabad. In its application Broadsheet LLC requested the court for "permission under Section 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to enforce" awards since Pakistan has failed to pay up the penalty imposed by the International Arbitration Court. It was underlined that the award was final and had not been complied with asking the court to apply interest in the judgment at a daily rate of almost $5,000.

Since then, the company has been actively considering its options with regard to enforcement of the Part Final Award (Quantum). The News has already reported that besides going after Pakistan's assets abroad, the company was also considering to seize the Avenfield apartments in London. It told Islamabad late last year that, "we are aware of reports that Respondent [the state of Pakistan and the NAB] have already sought assistance from the United Kingdom Central Authority regarding the seizure of the Avenfield House apartments."

The other assets the Broadsheet LLC has been considering to seize included the Pakistan High Commission building and high commissioner's house in London as well as Roosevelt Hotel in New York.