ISLAMABAD – The offshore assets of Pakistani politicians and business tycoons have been a matter of rigours debate ever since the Panama Papers made headlines on a global scale, leading to the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, however, new details are emerging with each passing day, about their murky wheelings and dealings.
According to a report by Dawn News, as many as four central leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have offshore properties with worth ranging in millions of pounds besides other affluents.
Firstly, the influential Saifullah family from Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and a part of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, holds a bigger offshore property portfolio in the United Kingdom than any other Pakistani politician or businessman,
The Pheasantry — a farmhouse located in the Bramshill Park, Hampshire — is one of the top worth property owned in the UK, for the Saifullah family.
According to the report, the farmhouse was bought in 1996 for 865,000 pounds sterling through Aqua Nominees Ltd (a multi-layered offshore company registered in Jersey).
The farmhouse is so stretched that it has six bedrooms, seven reception rooms, five bathrooms and a vast piece of agricultural land.
According to author Anastasia Bernhardt, who wrote a “Property of the Month” piece about the said farmhouse five years ago, there is a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi with TV and music system and a tennis court inside the premises.
The author highlighted: Beyond is stunning parkland and wonderful mixed, mature woodland. There is also an abundance of deer and wildlife on the estate.
The extent of its vastness is well evident from the fact that the 9,000-square-foot built-up area and the adjoining 334 acres of agricultural land have been mentioned in the UK land record under multiple entries.
The said stretch of land, owned by Saifullah’s was on the market in 2013 for an estimated guide price of around eight million pounds sterling and according to its current market value, the estate could be over 10 million pounds sterling in worth (Rs 1,543,718,916 PKR).
It is worth noting that the possession of offshore property does not necessarily suggest any wrongdoing on the part of any particular person, company or entity, otherwise proved otherwise.
Another aspect that confirms the prodigious size of the land is the fact that it reflects both in size and value the Surrey Palace spread over 355 acres which was bought by former President Asif Ali Zardari.
But Saifullah family’s empire does not end here here as just two years after purchasing the Pheasantry, another pricey item was bought in Central London through the same Aqua Nominees Ltd located on Southwick Street in Central London. The terraced house was purchased for half a million pounds sterling in 1998.
According to the UK land registry record, the offshore company, Aqua Nominees Ltd, owns another property on Albion Street in Central London.
Moreover, another offshore company linked to the Saifullah family, the UK Property Investment Ltd, purchased a flat on 13th floor in Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge.
The exact price of the Park Plaza flat is not known, however, a similar size flat on the same floor was sold in September 2016 for 430,000 pounds sterling.
The land registry record shows that the offshore company linked to the Saifullah family owns two houses (1 and 2) on Albion Street.
The group owns three properties in Worcester in West Midlands through Aqua Trust Company Limited i.e a piece of land on Saint Martins Place, land and buildings on the north side of Saint Martins Place and the Jaguar Centre on City Walls Road.
Furthermore, Ashby Limited, another offshore company incorporated in Belize and linked to former federal minister Salim Saifullah Khan, owns a parking space on Cleeve Way, Sutton.
The link of the offshore companies to the Saifullahs has also been substantiated by the Panama Papers investigation.
Jahangir Khan Tareen
The former PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen also owns Hyde House in UK. Tareen, who was disqualified by the supreme court last year, had bought the house through Shiny View Ltd, an offshore company incorporated in British Virgin Islands.
The staggering worth of the property can be gauged from the fact that Tareen had purchased the house in 2005 for 1.2 million pounds, however, the property cost him much more as it sealed his political career for life, owing to the verdict announced by supreme court in December last year.
The central leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Punjab faction Aleem Khan, who deals in real estate in Pakistan also has wealthy offshore properties in the Great Britain.
Khan owns three properties in Central London that he had bought through Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd, an offshore company incorporated in British Virgin Islands.
Firstly, a fifth-floor one-bed flat in Park West on Edgware Road was bought by PTI leader for 300,000 pounds in July 2007.
Two similar flats on the same floor in West Park were sold for around half a million pounds in June and August 2017.
Mr Khan, who faces criticism for his offshore companies, owns another flat in Marble Arch Apartments that he had bought for 220,000 pounds in August 2002.
The worth of Khan’s Marble Arch apartments can be calculated from the fact that two similar flats in the same building were sold last year for 495,000 pounds and 415,000 pounds, respectively.
Aleem Khan, who is facing National Accountability Bureau’s investigations at home, owns third offshore property situated at the upscale neighbourhood, Westcliffe Apartments, West End Quay, South Wharf Road, London.
Khan had bought this property for around 405,000 pounds only six months ago, after the disqualification of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was sent home over the controversy that stemmed out of Panama Papers and offshore properties.
Zulfi Bukhari, a close confidante of PTI chief Imran Khan, owns two expensive Central London properties which he had bought through offshore companies.
According to the UK land registry record, Bradbury Resources Limited — an offshore company linked to Zulfi Bukhari — owns stakes in 30 Ennismore Gardens.
The estimated market value of the property can be estimated from the fact that a flat in the Ennismore Gardens was sold for 949,950 pounds in July 2008.
CM Shehbaz’ Mother-in-Law
Samina Durrani, mother-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, owns an expensive residential property in Central London.
Samina, mother of famed author Tehmina Durrani, bought the property through Armani River Ltd, an offshore company incorporated in Bahamas, for 480,000 pounds in September 2002.
The current value of the property can be over a million pounds as two flats of the same size and on the same floor were sold for 1.080 million and 1.425 million pounds in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
A medical doctor running a private hospital in Rawalpindi’s poor Arya Mohalla is among many Pakistani businessmen holding UK properties through offshore companies.
The ownership of upscale property by the doctor contradicts the public perception in Pakistan that only politicians were concealing their wealth from the tax net and the anti-corruption bodies in the UK.
Dr Raazia Ajmal supervises Ajmal Hospital in Arya Mohalla, opposite Liaquat Bagh, but she is also the owner of Mill Cross Limited, an offshore company incorporated in Bahamas.
Through the same offshore company, Dr Raazia Ajmal bought a six-bedroom terraced house on The Vale, Golders Green, northwest London, in September 2002 for 475,000 pounds.
The current market value of the property could comfortably be well over one million pounds as two smaller houses on the same location were sold in 2016 and 2015 for 1,160,000 and 965,000 pounds, respectively.
Asif Hafeez, a UAE-based Pakistani magnate arrested in London in August 2017 on a US Drug Enforcement Agency warrant also owns two farmhouses — The Old Farm and The Old House — worth around five million pounds in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
Hafeez, who is fighting extradition to the US from his cell in Belmarsh prison bought the properties through Sarwani S.A., an offshore company incorporated in Panama.
Mr Hafeez also owns an expensive flat in Crown Court, near Regent Park mosque in Central London, but interestingly it is not listed among properties he bought through offshore companies.
Corlinio Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands is linked to Lahore-based industrialist Hussain Dawood, who owns a property in Bristal Gardens.
The exact value of the property is not known, but a basement flat in one of the Bristal Gardens properties was bought for over a million pounds in 2017.
Nosheen Riaz Khan
Karachi-based businesswoman Nosheen Riaz Khan owns a six-bedroom detached house in Chadwich Place in Surrey bought through Tawheed International Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. It was bought for 1,175,000 pounds in September 2010.
Karachi-based Navaid Malik owns a flat on Duke Street, Richmond, bought through Minhas Securities Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Although the exact purchase price of the flat is not known, an adjoining property was sold in 2011 for 800,000 pounds.
Abdul Rehman Allana
Paliser Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the Isle of Man and linked to Karachi-based businessman Abdul Rehman Allana, owns a property on York Road, Wandsworth, London.
The said property was bought in October 2003 for 569,800 pounds. Moreover, Releck Limited, another offshore company also incorporated in the Isle of Man and linked to Mr Allana, owns a property on Palace Road in Lambeth, London, which was purchased for 570,000 pounds in January 2017.
Maha Abedi Dadabhoy
Karachi-based Maha Abedi Dadabhoy, owns a flat on Southwick Street bought through Drayson Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
The flat was bought in July 2009 for 380,000 pounds, though the current market value of the property could be much higher as a flat in Devonport establishment where this is situated was sold in 2016 for 950,000 pounds. The same offshore company owns another property in Kirkgate, Oatley, Leeds.
Not only the Karachi-based businessmen own offshore properties but Lahoris are also not way far behind, an example of which is the couple Rubina Haider (also known as Rubina Riaz) and Riaz Haider Ali who owns two properties through Cherryvale Estate Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
The first property, situated on Kingsbury Road, London, was bought for 128,000 pounds in June 2005, though the current price of the property could be much higher.
The second property linked to Rubina Riaz and Riaz Haider Ali is situated on Liverpool Road, London. Although the exact price of the property is unknown, a flat on the same address was sold for 460,000 pounds in February 2013.
Avenfield House as Most Suitable Tax Haven
The Avenfield House of London seems to be the best place for investors and wealthy bigwigs to stash their income as according to the UK Land Registry record, the majority of flats in the same building are owned by offshore companies incorporated in tax havens like Panama, British Virgin Islands and Guernsey.
The most noticeable flats in the Avenfield House are owned by former Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif, who was forced out of his office after the Panama Papers were released.
The Nielsen Enterprises Limited and the Nescoll Limited, two offshore companies linked to the family of Nawaz Sharif, own four luxury flats in Avenfield House numbered 16, 16a, 17 and 17a.
All the four flats are situated on one floor and converted into one big house by removing partition walls.
The flat 17 was the first to be bought by the Nawaz Sharif family through the Nescoll Limited in June 1993 followed by the purchase of flats 16 and 16a which were bought on July 31, 1995.
The Sharif family, facing corruption charges back home bought the flat 17a on 23 July 1996.
The Sharif family also owns another property in Avenfield House, flat 12a, but it is not purchased through an offshore company but through the Flagship Investment Limited, a firm registered with Companies House in the United Kingdom with Hassan Nawaz Sharif as one of its directors.
The title deed of this flat shows a purchase price of 365,000 pounds and completion date of Jan 29, 2004.
Of the other Avenfield House properties, flat 20 and 21 are owned by the Hung Yip Development Limited, an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands while flat 9 and 10 are owned by the Mellen Management Limited, incorporated in Panama.
The basement and mezzanine floors of Avenfield House are owned by the Avenfield S.A., an offshore company incorporated in the Netherlands, while flat 6 is owned by the Mia Management Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
Moreover, flat 18 of Avenfield House is owned by Abyaar Holdings Limited, an offshore company incorporated in Guernsey.
Avenfield House is not the only choice for investors to conceal their income as the nearby Edgware Road has around 150 properties bought through companies incorporated in tax havens.