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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Broadsheet seeks Rs277m in new case against NAB

September 19, 2021
Broadsheet seeks Rs277m in new case against NAB

LONDON: After getting paid £920,000 (Rs212 million) on 17 August 2021 through a London High Court order and receiving an estimated $30 million (Rs5 billion) from Pakistan, the Broadsheet LLC has started a new claim asking the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Pakistan government to pay around £1.2 million (Rs277 million) in legal fees and disbursements in seeking to take enforcement action from courts against the defendants Republic of Pakistan and NAB.

A source at the United National Bank London said that it transferred £920,000 to Broadsheet on 17 August but now the Broadsheet has written to NAB, seeking to “recover” a sum of £1,113,261.43 for legal fees and £61,497.40 for disbursements.

This correspondent has seen the latest letter sent by Broadsheet’s lawyers at Crowell & Moring to Broadsheet - through Pakistan’s lawyers at Allen and Overy here - in which Pakistan has been told that these sums are towards “full credit for the legal fees and disbursements which have already been subjected to summary assessment by the court and paid” and have been “incurred in seeking to take enforcement action” the Pakistan authorities.

The Broadsheet’s lawyers argue that the amount of £1.2 million is owed by Pakistan as a “consequence” of NAB’s failure to satisfy first the Arbitration Awards and then the High Court Orders as a substantial amount of work has been undertaken to enforce those orders - the costs of which Broadsheet now looks to Pakistan to pay. The lawyers said that these costs are being demanded due to the “inaction and conduct” of NAB’s lawyers and NAB.

The letter, which has been received in Islamabad at the NAB headquarters, says that these amounts were incurred as Broadsheet was required to explore a number of “alternative actions for enforcement”.

The letter to NAB’s lawyer says: “Your clients have been slow to respond causing unnecessary delay and despite numerous assurances that they would pay, failed to action payment. This led to our client seeking to enforce payment through the Third-Party Debt Orders, which your client also failed to engage with. Given your client’s lack of response, our client had no choice but to also consider alternative means of enforcement and such action was completely vindicated when you client eventually engaged with the Third Party Debt Order (for the very first time at the hearing itself in December 2020) to oppose the application on grounds of State Immunity.”

The letter sets out that the Final Quantum and Costs Awards date back to 2019 but enforcement proceedings continued for just short of two years but NAB failed to engage with Broadsheet’s lawyers and showed no interest in seeking an amicable resolution.

“It seems to our client that your client’s conduct falls well short of that expected by a sovereign state and that conduct has added very considerably to the costs that our client must meet,” says the letter.

Broadsheet’s lawyers have also held NAB’s London lawyers responsible for contributing towards the increase of costs for Broadsheet.

In seeking £1.2 million, Broadsheet has written to NAB’s lawyers: “The conduct of both you and your client in failing to deal with the concerns raised by our client and take or communicate instructions promptly has undoubtedly led to further inter-party correspondence. This has increased costs for our client.”

Broadsheet’s CEO Kaveh Moussavi, when contacted, confirmed that Broadsheet’s lawyers have invited the Pakistan government to discuss how this matter can be resolved.

“If not amicably resolved, we will be issuing proceedings at the end of this month and there will be more costs on top of what Broadsheet is seeking,” he said.

The Broadsheet LLC was hired by Pakistan more than two decades ago to trace assets belonging to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, as well as several other politicians and businessmen including Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto.

Pakistan broke the contract in violation of the agreement it had signed and the case has so far cost Pakistan close to $65 million in legal fees and awards after Kaveh Moussavi, who beneficially owns Broadsheet, brought the case before sole arbitrator Sir Anthony Evans QC under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

The arbitration judge found that Pakistan had conspired to criminally defraud Broadsheet Isle of Man. The Broadsheet LLC’s lawyers convinced London High Court to seize Pakistan’s assets at THE UBL in December 2020. Since then Broadsheet has made further claims over the remaining sums, interests and costs.

The Broadsheet controversy raged for several months after Pakistan lost the case and then several scandalous stories involving Kaveh Moussavi, Germany based Anjum Dar, Shahzad Akbar, Daily Mail reporter David Rose, Dr Pucks and Zafar Ali QC made rounds. Kaveh Moussavi had alleged that Anjum Dar wanted a cut if he could get the payment made from Pakistan. Evidence showed that Anjum Dar held two meetings with Kaveh Moussavi in Germany and the UK and sought commission from him.

So far, the Broadsheet case has cost Pakistan over $65 million in total: of this amount, Broadsheet has received around £30 million while an estimated $25 million has been paid to NAB’s London lawyers and NAB’s Pakistan legal team expense on the case stands at over $5 million.

So far, the Broadsheet case has cost Pakistan over $65 million in total: of this amount, Broadsheet has received around £30 million while an estimated $25 million has been paid to NAB’s London lawyers and NAB’s Pakistan legal team expense on the case stands at over $5 million.