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March 8, 2021

London bank freezes Pakistan’s Rs217m for Broadsheet

Top Story

March 8, 2021

LONDON: The United National Bank (UBL) London branch has frozen around £1 million (Rs217 million) held in Pakistan’s account in compliance with an order, issued three weeks ago by the London High Court in favour of the Broadsheet LLC. The UBL informed the Broadsheet LLC and the London High Court in writing that Pakistan government’s account, operated by Pakistan High Commission London, with around £1 million in it had been frozen until the next orders of the London High Court. On Feb 15, 2021, the London High Court froze funds that Pakistan High Commission held with United National Bank in London up to the value of $1,222,037.90 plus costs to be determined by the court at a hearing in June.

This correspondent received a copy of the letter that Broadsheet’s lawyers Crowell & Moring had written to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Attorney General’s Office. It states: “We have received a written confirmation from lawyers instructed by the United National Bank that funds to that total value have been frozen and will be held pending further order. We would invite your client to consent to a final order allowing the frozen funds to be paid out forthwith to our client.”

Kaveh Moussavi, the Broadsheet CEO, confirmed to this correspondent that Pakistan’s account with £1 million (equivalent to $1,222,037.90) has been frozen but he said he would be going to the court for further recovery of legal fees.

He said Pakistan’s failure to make payment of the outstanding balance due on the outstanding High Court judgments left him with no alternative but to issue further enforcement proceedings. Kaveh Moussavi said he had to obtain a new Third Party Debt order from the High Court in London over Pakistan High Commission’s accounts with United National Bank.

Kaveh Moussavi added: “Further sums owed by NAB as legal fees are accumulating. They really are their own worst enemies. I have heard that the Government of Pakistan plans to sue United Bank in London. For what exactly? For obeying the Order of the High Court. Need I say anymore about how much respect the GoP has for the Rule of Law?”

The UK High Court of Justice had issued a new freezing order three weeks ago in favour of Broadsheet LLC and against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordering that no payments shall be released to the Government of Pakistan by the UBL to any other party from the accounts held by the Pakistan government unless the judgment debt and interest of around £1 million is settled.

The order was made on the application of Broadsheet LLC after Pakistani government failed to respond to Braodsheet’s communication for the payment in the remaining judgment debt – after Pakistan paid around $28 million to Broadsheet at the end December 2020 after Pakistan’s accounts were frozen. A Pakistan High Commission said that it was using accounts “without any restrictions”. The UBL sources said that it has complied with the Court Order.