British Government Lists Pakistan Among Top 3 Money Laundering Sources

British National Crime Agency (NCA) has identified Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia as the top source countries for money laundering in the United Kingdom, according to British media reports. The NCA report says the UK is a prime destination for foreign corrupt and politically exposed people (politicians and their families) to launder money.

NCA Report Highlights:

In its annual assessment of serious and organized crime, the NCA says: “Investment in UK property, particularly in London, continues to be an attractive mechanism to launder funds....As the UK moves towards exiting the EU in March 2019, UK-based businesses may look to increase the amount of trade they have with non-EU countries....We judge this will increase the likelihood that UK businesses will come into contact with corrupt markets, particularly in the developing world, raising the risk they will be drawn into corrupt practices.”

Here are some of the key excerpts of the UK NCA report titled "National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organized Crime 2018":

1. "The UK is a prime destination for foreign corrupt PEPs (politically exposed persons, a euphemism for politicians and their family member) to launder the proceeds of corruption. Investment in UK property, particularly in London, continues to be an attractive mechanism to launder funds. The true scale of PEPs investment in the UK is not known, however the source countries that are most commonly seen are Russia, Nigeria and Pakistan".

2. "The overseas jurisdictions that have the most enduring impact on the UK across the majority of the different money laundering threats are: Russia, China, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Some of these jurisdictions have large financial sectors which also make them attractive as destinations or transit points for the proceeds of crime."

Politicians Dominate Panama Papers

Panama Papers Leak:

The NCA report says there are "professional enablers from the banking, accounting and legal world" who  facilitate the legitimization of criminal finances and are perpetuate the problem by refinancing further criminality.

In fact, there is an entire industry made up of lawyers and accountants that offers its services to help hide illicit wealth. Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that made headlines with "Panama Leaks", is just one example of companies in this industry.

Mossack Fonseca's 11.5 million leaked internal files contained information on more than 214,000 offshore entities tied to 12 current or former heads of state, 140 politicians, including Pakistan's now ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family.  Icelandic Prime Minister resigned voluntarily and Pakistani Prime Minister was forced out by the country's Supreme Court.

The Panama list included showbiz and sports celebrities, lawyers, entrepreneurs,  businessmen, journalists and other occupations but it was heavily dominated by politicians.

Trade Based Money Laundering (TBML):

The report singles out trade as one of the key mechanisms used in money laundering.  It says: "Trade based money laundering (TBML) is a complex global issue and a key method of money laundering impacting on the UK".

It is not just greedy politicians, unscrupulous businessmen and corrupt officials in developing countries who rely on fraudulent manipulation of trade invoices; all kinds of drug traders, terrorists and criminals also use TBML (trade-based money laundering).

John A. Cassara, former US intelligence official with expertise in money laundering, submitted written testimony for a US Congressional hearing on “Trading with the Enemy: Trade-Based Money Laundering is the Growth Industry in Terror Finance” to the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Of the House Financial Services Committee February 3, 2016. Here's an except from it:

"Not long after the September 11 attacks, I had a conversation with a Pakistani entrepreneur. This businessman could charitably be described as being involved in international grey markets and illicit finance. We discussed many of the subjects addressed in this hearing including trade-based money laundering, terror finance, value transfer, hawala, fictitious invoicing, and counter-valuation. At the end of the discussion, he looked at me and said, “Mr. John, don’t you know that your adversaries are transferring money and value right under your noses? But the West doesn’t see it. Your enemies are laughing at you.”"

Trade Misinvoicing:

Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI) defines trade misinvoicing as "fraudulently manipulating the price, quantity, or quality of a good or service on an invoice submitted to customs" to quickly move substantial sums of money across international borders.

How does trade miscinvoicing work? Here's an example:

Let's say an exporter in Pakistan exports goods worth $1 million to a foreign country and invoices it at $500,000 through an offshore middleman.  The middleman invoices and collects $1 million from the end customer, sends $500,000 to Pakistan and deposits $500,000 in an offshore account. The result: Pakistan is deprived of the $500,000 in foreign exchange.

Similarly, imports of goods worth $1 million to Pakistan are overinvoiced at $1.5 million through an offshore middleman and the difference is kept in an overseas account. The result: Pakistan loses another $500,000 in foreign exchange. Meanwhile, the Pakistani traders and the officials facilitating misinvoicing together pocket $1 million or 50% on the two trades.  Pakistan's trade and current account deficits grow and the foreign exchange reserves are depleted, forcing Pakistan to go back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for yet another bailout with tough conditions.

Foreign Residency(Iqama):

Assets held by people in offshore tax havens are tracked by their country of residence, not by their citizenship, under OECD sponsored Agreement On Exchange of Information on Tax Matters. Pakistan is a signatory of this international agreement.  When Pakistan seeks information from another country under this agreement,  the nation's FBR gets only the information on asset holders who have declared Pakistan as their country of residence. Information on those Pakistanis who claim residency (iqama) in another country is not shared with Pakistani government. This loophole allows many Pakistani asset holders with iqamas in other countries to hide their assets. Many of Pakistan's top politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen hold residency visas in the Middle East, Europe and North America.

Loss of Tax Revenue:

Customs duties in developing countries often make up a huge part of the tax revenue collected by the governments. Trade Misinvoicing not only increases current account deficits but also worsen budget deficits by cutting tax receipts. Raymond Baker, author of Capitalism's Achilles Heel, has written about it as follows:

"The Pakistan government's largest source of revenues is customs duties, and therefore evasion of duties is a national pastime. Isn't there a way to tap into this major income stream, pretending to fight customs corruption and getting rich at he same time? Of course; we can hire a reputable (or disreputable, as the case maybe) inspection company, have the government pay the company about one percent fee to do price checking on imports, and get multi-million dollar bribes paid to us upon award of the contracts. Societe de Generale de Surveillance (SGS), headquartered in Switzerland, and its then subsidiary Cotecna, the biggest group in the inspection business, readily agree to this subterfuge. Letters in 1994 promised "consultancy fees", meaning kickbacks, of 6 percent and 3 percent to British Virgin Island (BVI) companies, Bomer Finance Inc. and Nassam Overseas Inc., controlled by (Benazir) Bhutto and (Asif) Zardari. Payments of $12 million were made to Swiss bank accounts of the BVI companies."

Aid in Reverse:

Some have called London the "Money Laundering Capital of the World" where corrupt leaders from developing nations use wealth looted from their people to buy expensive real estate and other assets. Private individuals and businesses from poor nations also park money in the west and other off-shore tax havens to hide their incomes and assets from the tax authorities in their countries of residence.

The multi-trillion dollar massive net outflow of money from the poor to the rich countries has been documented by the US-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI). This flow of capital has been described as "aid in reverse". It has made big headlines in Pakistan and elsewhere since the release of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Leaks which revealed true owners of offshore assets held by anonymous shell companies. Bloomberg has reported that Pakistanis alone own as much as $150 billion worth of undeclared assets offshore.

Impact on Economic Growth:

There's a direct relationship between investment and GDP. Flight of capital reduces domestic investment and depresses economic growth in poor countries. Lower tax revenues also impact spending on education, health care and infrastructure, resulting in poor socioeconomic indicators.

In Pakistan, for example, it takes investment of about 4% of GDP to grow the economy by 1%. Lower levels of investments in the country has kept its GDP growth below par relative to the rest of South Asia.  Any reduction in the outflow of capital to offshore tax havens will help boost economic growth in Pakistan to close the gap with its neighbors, particularly Bangladesh and India whose economies are both growing 1-2% faster than Pakistan's.


UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) has listed Pakistan among the top three sources of money laundering in the United Kingdom. The report has identified trade misinvoicing as a key mechanism for money laundering. It singles out politicians as the main culprits. Pakistan's exports have declined significantly since former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's PMLN party assumed power in 2013. They are down from about $25 billion in 2013-14 to about $20 billion in 2016-17. Overvaluation of the Pakistani currency is often cited as a reason for it. The other, probably more important reason, may be increasing underinvoicing of exports facilitated by the people in power. Trade misinvoicing is the largest component of illicit financial outflows from developing countries as measured by New York- based Global Financial Integrity (GFI) which tracks such flows.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Did Musharraf Steal Pakistani People's Money?

Pakistan Economy Hobbled By Underinvestment

Raymond Baker on Corruption in Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif Disqualified

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

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Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

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Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2019 at 9:53pm

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America
When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Washington bet on the global spread of democratic capitalist values—and lost.

American officialdom, Palmer believed, had badly misjudged Russia. Washington had placed its faith in the new regime’s elites; it took them at their word when they professed their commitment to democratic capitalism. But Palmer had seen up close how the world’s growing interconnectedness—and global finance in particular—could be deployed for ill. During the Cold War, the KGB had developed an expert understanding of the banking byways of the West, and spymasters had become adept at dispensing cash to agents abroad. That proficiency facilitated the amassing of new fortunes. In the dying days of the U.S.S.R., Palmer had watched as his old adversaries in Soviet intelligence shoveled billions from the state treasury into private accounts across Europe and the U.S. It was one of history’s greatest heists.

Washington told itself a comforting story that minimized the importance of this outbreak of kleptomania: These were criminal outliers and rogue profiteers rushing to exploit the weakness of the new state. This narrative infuriated Palmer. He wanted to shake Congress into recognizing that the thieves were the very elites who presided over every corner of the system. “For the U.S. to be like Russia is today,” he explained to the House committee, “it would be necessary to have massive corruption by the majority of the members at Congress as well as by the Departments of Justice and Treasury, and agents of the FBI, CIA, DIA, IRS, Marshal Service, Border Patrol; state and local police officers; the Federal Reserve Bank; Supreme Court justices …” In his testimony, Palmer even mentioned Russia’s newly installed and little-known prime minister (whom he mistakenly referred to as Boris Putin), accusing him of “helping to loot Russia.”

The United States, Palmer made clear, had allowed itself to become an accomplice in this plunder. His assessment was unsparing. The West could have turned away this stolen cash; it could have stanched the outflow to shell companies and tax havens. Instead, Western banks waved Russian loot into their vaults. Palmer’s anger was intended to provoke a bout of introspection—and to fuel anxiety about the risk that rising kleptocracy posed to the West itself. After all, the Russians would have a strong interest in protecting their relocated assets. They would want to shield this wealth from moralizing American politicians who might clamor to seize it. Eighteen years before Special Counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into foreign interference in a U.S. election, Palmer warned Congress about Russian “political donations to U.S. politicians and political parties to obtain influence.” What was at stake could well be systemic contagion: Russian values might infect and then weaken the moral defense systems of American politics and business.

This unillusioned spook was a prophet, and he spoke out at a hinge moment in the history of global corruption. America could not afford to delude itself into assuming that it would serve as the virtuous model, much less emerge as an untainted bystander. Yet when Yegor Gaidar, a reformist Russian prime minister in the earliest postcommunist days, asked the United States for help hunting down the billions that the KGB had carted away, the White House refused. “Capital flight is capital flight” was how one former CIA official summed up the American rationale for idly standing by. But this was capital flight on an unprecedented scale, and mere prologue to an era of rampant theft. When the Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman studied the problem in 2015, he found that 52 percent of Russia’s wealth resided outside the country.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2019 at 9:54pm

Journalist: Kleptocrats' 'Ill-Gotten Fortunes' Are Being Parked In U.S. Real Estate

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest Franklin Foer has been writing about the Mueller investigation and connections between Donald Trump, his campaign and Russia for The Atlantic magazine, where he's a national correspondent. And for his latest article, titled "Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America," he writes about how wealth plundered by Russian oligarchs is being parked in real estate in American cities, including in Trump properties. Foer is nominated for a National Magazine Award for his article about Paul Manafort titled "American Hustler." Manafort is Trump's former campaign chair, whose associates have included Oleg Deripaska - a Russian oligarch - and Konstantin Kilimnik, who, according to the FBI, has ties to a Russian intelligence agency.


FOER: So in 2017, Reuters did this survey of Trump Organization properties in Florida. And what they found was that of the about 2,000 units in those developments, a third of the units in his properties were sold to anonymous corporate vehicles where we're unable to trace who actually owns the property.

It hurts the U.S. economy in that it artificially inflates real estate values and makes cities more unlivable for regular people because their rents end up getting dragged up by the top end. So economically, that's, I think, pretty much the sum of the damage.

But I think that the costs that we pay is one of - that's deeper and harder to detect, which is that as we construct the system, there are an enormous number of Americans who become complicit with it - that for a Russian to buy a building in a Trump property requires the Trump Organization to be essentially complicit. It requires lawyers and real estate agents to become complicit. And oftentimes, it requires whole states to become complicit. So we have places like Delaware and Nevada that are the primary locales where foreigners can anonymously register shell companies. And so those states make a whole lot of money in the course of abetting this activity.


GROSS: So there might be Russians in those properties.

FOER: Yeah. There's a journalist who jokes Vladimir Putin could own those properties, and we wouldn't know.

GROSS: So financially for, say, Russians parking their money in pricey real estate in the U.S., the Russians don't have to pay taxes in Russia. If they want to, they can remain kind of anonymous in terms of the ownership of the properties, especially if it's going through a shell company. But does that hurt the U.S. economy in any way?

FOER: It hurts the U.S. economy in that it artificially inflates real estate values and makes cities more unlivable for regular people because their rents end up getting dragged up by the top end. So economically, that's, I think, pretty much the sum of the damage.

But I think that the costs that we pay is one of - that's deeper and harder to detect, which is that as we construct the system, there are an enormous number of Americans who become complicit with it - that for a Russian to buy a building in a Trump property requires the Trump Organization to be essentially complicit. It requires lawyers and real estate agents to become complicit. And oftentimes, it requires whole states to become complicit. So we have places like Delaware and Nevada that are the primary locales where foreigners can anonymously register shell companies. And so those states make a whole lot of money in the course of abetting this activity.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 10, 2019 at 8:17am

Around three months ago, this correspondent had reported that the NAB is set to foot the bill of more than $45 million (approx Rs6.238 billion) after losing at the LCIA to the asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC. This firm was hired by the NAB during Pervez Musharraf’s era to trace assets in UK and US of more than 200 Pakistanis including generals, politicians, businessmen with Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and several businessmen as the chief targets.

Murtaza Ali Shah
April 3, 2019

NAB’s law firm Allen & Overy took the case to London High Court against the award of more than $21 million in favour of Broadsheet LLC The anti-graft body wants the London High Court to reduce the award of cost by around a million dollars It’s understood that the litigation will be expensive and will cost the NAB further

LONDON: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has taken it’s case to the London High Court challenging the arbitration of nearly $21 million in favour of assets recovery form Broadsheet LLC by Sir Anthony Evans at the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) – but the move is set to cost Pakistan’s national exchequer more money.

It’s understood that the litigation will be expensive and will cost the NAB further. While a decision will be made by the London High Court judge whether or not to cut the award cost but in normal circumstances it’s unlikely for the judges in England & Wales to cancel or invalidate the previous court decisions unless compelling new evidence is established or factual faults found in previous awards and judgements.

Around three months ago, this correspondent had reported that the NAB is set to foot the bill of more than $45 million (approx Rs6.238 billion) after losing at the LCIA to the asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC. This firm was hired by the NAB during Pervez Musharraf’s era to trace assets in UK and US of more than 200 Pakistanis including generals, politicians, businessmen with Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and several businessmen as the chief targets.

The total cost to the NAB was estimated to be over US $60 million when all costs, damages and fines taken into calculation but with the NAB’s decision to litigate further the costs will continue increasing. The costs will include legal fees, fines, costs and interests.

In 2000, Pervez Musharraf’s govt entered into an agreement with the Isle of Man-registered Broadsheet LLC in early 2000 with the task to help track down assets of Nawaz Sharif and more than 200 other politicians, generals and officials at its own expense -- in return for 20 percent of any sums recovered from the designated targets.

The deal went pear shaped when Pakistan suddenly pulled out of the agreement and the Broadsheet sued.

The total award to Broadsheet against around three months ago was $21,589,460 against the following targets: Schon Group: $48,760 interest from 1 Jan 2013; Lakhani: $25,000, 1 July 2005; Kasmi: $85,600, 1 July 2005; Lt Gen Zahid Ali Akbar: $381,600, 1 Jan 2016; Sherpao: $210,000, 1 Jan 2018; Ansari: $180,000, 1 Jan 2005, $158,500, 1 Feb 2007 and $1,089,460; Sharif Avenfield $1,500,000 and Sharif (other assets) $19,000,000.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 10, 2019 at 8:17am

A former general of the Pakistan Army has returned Rs200 million of misappropriated funds in a plea bargain to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Lt General (retd) Zahid Ali Akbar commanded the Rawalpindi Corps and remained Wapda chairman from 1987 to 1992 as well as serving as the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman. He was accused of corruption and having assets beyond his known sources.

The NAB received his confessional statement and Rs200 million which was deposited in the national treasury. Lt General (retd) Zahid Ali Akbar was arrested through Interpol when he was entering Bosnia from Croatia but due to his citizenship of the United Kingdom he was shifted from Bosnia to Britain.

According to NAB documents, Lt General (retd) Zahid Ali Akbar had 77 bank accounts in which more than Rs200 million were deposited and these bank accounts were in the name of Zahid Ali Akbar, his close relatives and in the name of different companies.

Sources refuted the impression that the NAB was not investigating the cases against retired generals or judges. Zahid Ali Akbar declared himself guilty and if he was in politics, he would be disqualified from contesting any elections for 10 years.

Ninety-one-year-old Lt General (retd) Zahid Ali Akbar, who had served as a military secretary to president Fazal Elahi Chaudhry, in his letter to the NAB expressed his desire to spend his last days of his life in Pakistan.

The NAB has no objection to his return to Pakistan as he has deposited the money in the national exchequer under the plea bargain. The NAB has also informed the Accountability Court about the desire of Lt General (retd) Zahid Ali Akbar to return to the country and requested the removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL). Now the Accountability Court has to take a final decision of removing his name from the ECL.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 20, 2019 at 9:59am

One man uncovered $230 billion #MoneyLaundry: "A #UK company with a registered office in North #London with an account in an #Estonian bank that's actually run by #Russians and the partners, the owners, are from the #Seychelles and the #Marshall Islands"

(British Banker Howard) Wilkinson's job was to run the market trading side of the (Danish Danske) bank for the Baltic region, not investigate the bank's clients, but that changed almost by accident when a colleague asked him for some help getting information about a customer registered in the United Kingdom as Lantana Trade LLP. Wilkinson, a Briton himself, knew he could check the firm's assets and income on the British business registry. When he did so, Lantana was listed as dormant, but he knew by looking at their account at the bank, they were anything but dormant and conducting transactions worth multiple millions of dollars a day.

The company also had connections to remote exotic places known for banking secrecy and money laundering. "A UK company with a registered office in North London with an account in an Estonian bank that's actually run by Russians and the partners, the owners, are from the Seychelles and the Marshall Islands," says Wilkinson.

Eventually, after colleagues told him that Lantana had been asked to take their business elsewhere because of connections to the FSB, the Russian security service, and also to Igor Putin, Russian President Vladimir Putin's cousin, he informed officials at the bank of his concerns about Lantana. Then he kept digging and examined publicly available records for more of the bank's clients who were registered in Britain. "Not just were the accounts all false, the accounts all basically looked the same," he tells Kroft.

Frustrated with the bank's lack of action, he resigned and returned to Britain. Prodded by the press in Europe, Danske Bank eventually commissioned an investigation and admitted its tiny Estonian branch was the gateway for what may be the largest money-laundering scheme in history.

Steve Kohn, Wilkinson's lawyer, says the large multinational banks that facilitated the transactions deserve scrutiny as well. "The moment you're doing money laundering in large amounts of money, billions, hundreds of millions, you need the big banks. And the big banks are under strict regulations… very strict rules to stop money laundering."

Wilkinson, who under various U.S. whistleblower laws, could potentially share in the proceeds of any fines levied has been keeping a low profile. "You've got to be [careful], haven't you," he says, "The very nature of the people who want to launder money probably means that they're not the sort that you want go down [to] the pub and have a pint with."

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 27, 2019 at 7:16am

#Pakistan, #UK sign memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will provide a legal basis for the extradition of former #finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan to face charges. #MoneyLaundering #corruption #PMLN #NawazSharif

Pakistan and the British government have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will provide a legal basis for the extradition of former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan.

In a tweet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said he held meetings with UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field during his stay in London over the past week.

“[The] UK signs first ever MoU for extradition to Pakistan, setting legal basis for the extradition of Ishaq Dar in absence of a treaty,” he said.

Earlier on May 23, the UK home secretary had tweeted: “Pleasure to meet with @ShazadAkbar again this morning to discuss progress on UK-Pakistan efforts to tackle corruption.”

Graeme Biggar, the director of National Security at Britain’s interior ministry and Shahzad Akbar signed the MoU, reaching an agreement for the extradition of Ishaq Dar to Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 30, 2019 at 7:23am

#Pakistan's Financial Monitoring Unit signs anti #moneylaundering deals with #UK ,#Turkey, #SriLanka, #Iran, #Turkmenistan and #Kazakhstan, while agreements with #China, #UAE, #Qatar and #Malawi expected soon. #corruption #PMLN #PPP

The Pakistani and British governments on Thursday signed an agreement to enhance financial intelligence sharing in order to counter money laundering and terror financing.

A delegation headed by FMU Director General Mansoor Siddiqui signed the agreement with the United Kingdom's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) while on a visit to the UK.

A press release issued on the occasion stated that the FMU in Pakistan and the FIU in the UK had signed an MoU for the establishment of a channel facilitating the efficient exchange of financial intelligence.

The delegation held meetings with British law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and discussed how to enhance coordination between the FIU and LEAs. The team also familiarised itself with the workings of the FIU, the press release stated.

As a result of the visit, LEAs on both sides will now have the opportunity to exchange information and carry out more effective investigations.

The FMU has already signed MoUs with Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, while agreements with China, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malawi are being finalised and are expected to be signed soon.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 4, 2019 at 6:21pm

Pakistan goes after hidden assets and finds nearly $450 million
After another IMF loan, the country is increasing enforcement on tax avoidance to help manage its debt.

Pakistan's government, struggling to lift revenues and cut ballooning public debt, registered around 100,000 new tax filers and expects to have raised about $450m from a tax amnesty on hidden assets, the finance chief said on Thursday.

The announcement came a day after the International Monetary Fund gave final approval to a six-billion-dollar loan package designed to shore up the economy while the government cuts debt and builds up dwindling foreign currency reserves.

Finance chief Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said nearly 137,000 people had registered at the closure of the amnesty this week, of whom nearly 100,000 were first-time filers.

That was a significant total in a nation in which less than one percent of the 208 million population file tax returns.

In total, around three trillion rupees ($19.25bn) of assets were declared and tax revenue worth around 70 billion rupees ($449.15m) was collected.

Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced the amnesty on undeclared assets, part of a broader drive to widen Pakistan's notoriously narrow tax base, in a bid to identify high earners for more efficient tax collection.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 14, 2019 at 7:32am

Did family of #Pakistani politician #NawazSharif STEAL #British foreign aid money? #PMLN #Corruption #MoneyLaundering via @MailOnline

  • Shahbaz Sharif leads Pakistan's main opposition party and was a chief minister 
  • Up to £500million of UK foreign aid has been poured into his province, Punjab
  • But, investigators claim, his family was laundering some of the money in Britain 

Meet Shahbaz Sharif. He’s the leader of Pakistan’s main opposition party and, before losing power last year, spent ten years as chief minister of the country’s biggest province, Punjab – home to 110 million people.

For years he was feted as a Third World poster boy by Britain’s Department for International Development, which poured more than £500 million of UK taxpayers’ money into his province in the form of aid.

Last year the head of DFID’s Pakistan office Joanna Rowley lauded his ‘dedication’, while her colleague Richard Montgomery gushed that under Shahbaz, Punjab was ‘reforming at a pace rarely seen’.

Shahbaz visited Downing Street when David Cameron was Prime Minister, has held talks with successive international development secretaries – Andrew Mitchell, Justine Greening and Penny Mordaunt – and hosted Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary.

Yet, say investigators, all the time that DFID was heaping him and his government with praise and taxpayers’ cash, Shahbaz and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain.

They are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects.

Last night, Shahbaz’s son Suleman denied the allegations against him and his family, saying they were the product of a ‘political witch-hunt’ ordered by Pakistan’s new prime minister, the former cricketer Imran Khan. ‘No allegation has been proven. There is no evidence of kickbacks,’ he said.

According to the watchdog Transparency International, Pakistan comes just 117th in the world integrity index and ‘corruption is a major obstacle’ there. DFID admits it is ‘well aware’ that Pakistan is a ‘corrupt environment’. However, since 2014, DFID has given more aid to Pakistan than any other country – up to £463 million a year.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday – which has campaigned against Britain’s policy of spending 0.7 per cent of national income, currently about £14 billion a year, on foreign aid – was given exclusive access to some of the results of a high-level probe ordered by Khan, who won elections last year. We were also able to interview key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen Aftab Mehmood.

He claims he laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham – without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.

Last year, this newspaper disclosed the case against Pakistan’s former prime minister, Shahbaz’s brother Nawaz Sharif, who had built up a London property empire worth £32 million.

Convicted of corruption, he is now serving a seven-year jail sentence. But according to Pakistani investigators, the wealth accrued by Shahbaz and his family is still greater.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 1, 2019 at 9:49am

#NawazSharif And #AsifZardari May Be Inching Towards A Plea Bargain Deal With Government. Both may pay a hefty amount and remain outside the country for 5 years. #ImranKhan insists Nawaz Sharif apologize for #corruption on TV. #PPP #PMLN #MoneyLaundering

The rumour mills in the federal capital are abuzz with the news of an understanding between Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari with the government, but few details have yet to be finalized, well-placed sources told Naya Daur.
As per the purported deal, Zardari may pay a hefty amount and remain outside the country for five years while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its leadership including Bilawal and Faryal Talpur could get a clean chit and continue with their politics.

In the case of Nawaz Sharif, sources say, he has agreed to pay as well (no specific number given) but the problem is that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been insisting that Nawaz Sharif appear on TV to apologise for his corruption. If he agrees then the Sharif family including Maryam Nawaz will be cleared from all cases of corruption being heard against them.

Sources say this proposal has categorically been rejected by Nawaz Sharif and PMLN as Nawaz’s coming on TV and tendering apology will be the end of Maryam Nawaz’s politics before it even launched formally.
People close to Imran Khan have claimed that twice in the past, Imran Khan was communicated to by the establishment that keeping in view the tough financial situation of the country, it would be better to let the two leaders go in return for money.

But reportedly Imran threatened to resign saying that his whole political career is based on the promise of ‘punishing’ the two political families (Zardari and Sharifs) for their corrupt practices.

If they were given any kind of relief, he would prefer to go home instead of continuing as the Prime Minister.

But now Imran Khan has been convinced that there is no point holding the two leaders inside jail if they agree to enter into a plea bargain. Pakistan badly needs foreign exchange and the two leaders’ heath is also deteriorating, so the wise step was to get a deal going and move on, sources added.


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    Restoring Home Comfort: Premier Appliance Repair Services in Dubai

    In the bustling city of Dubai, household appliances are the backbone of daily life, streamlining tasks and enhancing convenience. However, when these crucial devices encounter issues, it can disrupt the rhythm of our homes. That's where efficient appliance repair services step in to restore comfort and functionality.

    Understanding the Need for Prompt Repairs

    In a city as dynamic as Dubai, addressing appliance issues swiftly is crucial to maintain the…


    Posted by Ben Qadeer on November 14, 2023 at 2:42am

    Israeli Scholars Provide Insights into Zionist Psyche

    Zionists are "secular" but they use God as their "land agent" who gave them the "promised land", says Professor Avi Shlaim of Oxford University. Jews are God's "chosen people" who are exempt from the rules that apply to non-Jews, according to Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levy. Israel is carrying out…


    Posted by Riaz Haq on November 10, 2023 at 5:30pm — 13 Comments

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