Monday October 18, 2021

Broadsheet-NAB Played a ‘post office’ role only: Tariq Malik

February 04, 2021

LONDON: One of the architects of the Assets Recovery Agreement (ARA) between the Broadsheet LLC and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said his role was only that of a “post office” between the two parties and nothing more.

Tariq Fawad Malik, who currently lives in Dubai and runs businesses from there, is considered the main character of the Broadsheet deal among General Amjad, Farouk Adam Khan, Jerry James and Dr William Pepper. General Amjad told Sir Anthony Evans that it was Tariq Fawad Malik – known also as TFM – who came to him with Ghaznafar Ali Khan for the first time to pitch the idea of recovering the alleged stolen billion from abroad through the so-called assets recovery firm Trouvons LLC.

In his witness statement before Sir Anthony Evans, made in May 2018 during the quantum hearing, TFM said his role was confined to passing information between NAB and Broadsheet. He acted as the in-country representative in Pakistan during the term of the Assets Recovery Agreement (ARA) from 2000 to 2003.

According to papers available with The News and Geo, TFM told the court that Broadsheet had three to four full time staff working from NAB offices but “none had assets tracing experience” and they only posted information to Broadsheet to work on the “Targets” to trace and repatriate assets.

Tariq Malik, who graduated from Pakistan Air Force Academy in 1987 and served in the Air Force as a commissioned officer till 93, managed a real estate company as CEO and worked for Gulf South Asia (GSA) Investments.

TFM was first introduced to Dr William Pepper, attorney of Trouvons LLC, in 1998 by Mr Ghazanfar Ali, who had met TFM at Gulf South Asia investments, where Mr Ali was the chairman. Ghazanfar Ali asked TFM to join Trouvons LLC to assist the company in local business development and facilitate meetings for Mr Ronald Rudman, Dr William Pepper and Jerry James with state entities in Pakistan including the Ethesaab Commission, which turned into the NAB - and not a long time after the Trouvons LLC turned to Broadsheet LLC. TFM told the court that negotiations between NAB and Broadsheet were led by former chairman NAB General Amjad, Prosecutor General Farouk Adam Khan and Dr Pepper and Rudman for Broadsheet. He said: “I was not involved in negotiations. Once the ARA was up and running in mid-2000, my role was largely that of a post office.”

TFM had a consultancy agreement with Broadsheet and he reported to Broadsheet on what was happening in NAB and Pakistan usually to Mr Jerry James, Mr Tisdale and Sharifudin Pirzada, the counsel for Broadsheet. Just a few months into the work, TFM said he realized that Broadsheet had taken on far more than it would perform in that it registered far more targets than it could actually investigate. He said Broadsheet understood that ARA entitles it to recover a share in settlement with registered targets, even when it had not contributed to that settlement in any way. According to TFM’s account before the court, there was a focus at Broadsheet in trying to register as many targets as possible rather than just concentrating on the existing targets and trying to find their assets.

He said his emails were proof that he believed that NAB was not getting enough support from Broadsheet and not putting any serious effort into tracing assets worldwide. TFM said he was frustrated and it was clear that Broadsheet “overestimated to NAB its capabilities”. The court saw an email from TFM to Mr Ghazanfar Ali in July 2000 in which he said: “We probably made a terrible mistake over rating the capability of our principals both financially and commercially” and I “strongly recommend we don’t proceed any further and should look for an amicable exit from this rollercoaster”. In April 2001, TFM wrote to Jerry James saying: “our inaction is a very serious concern to the people involved”; “Broadsheet was not complying with its obligation to provide full disclosures to the chairman NAB of our findings; and that there “may be some truth” in what other believed that “Broadsheet have done no work and are hoodwinking Pakistani government, waiting to collect on the efforts of government of Pakistan”.

By mid-2003 it was clear the ARA was not working for either party and Jerry James had lost interest in the ARA and did not appear to be willing to invest time or money in Broadsheet anymore, said TFM. That’s the time when TFM failed to get hold of James and anyone else from Broadsheet. Jerry James stopped funding Broadsheet operations in Pakistan and outside and took his interest to other ventures such as investing in a private bank in Colorado in mid 2003 called American International Depository Trust. TFM then tried to help James register a branch of AIFT in the Dubai International Finance Centre and also later invested in AIDT.

In the judgment, Sir Anthony Evans noted that Tariq Fawad Malik’s witness statement was admitted in evidence without cross-examination. TFM was the only witness in Pakistan’s favour during quantum hearing.