ISLAMABAD – One day before the hearing of the Panama leaks, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf yeserday filed fresh evidence before the Supreme Court.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children also filed applications for changing their counsels. In place of Salman Aslam Butt now Makhdoom Ali Khan would represent the PM, while Salman Akram Raja would appear instead of Akram Sheikh on behalf of Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz. Maryam Safdar and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar engaged Shahid Hamid. Earlier, Akram Sheikh was also representing Maryam Safdar.
A five-member larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, will resume hearing of the petitions filed by PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Awami Muslim League and Tariq Asad advocate on the Panama leaks today (Wednesday).
The PTI submitted 40-page evidence which contains the correspondence between Mossack Fonseca, Financial Investigation Agency, and Minerva Trust and Corporate Ltd.
On June 12, 2012, the FIA wrote a letter to Mossack Fonseca, seeking names and addresses of beneficial owners of the companies – Neilsen and Nescoll – and their bank accounts or assets, full details of any company connected to or concerned with the companies and names, addresses of the settlers, trustees and beneficiaries of any trust.
Mossack Fonseca replied to FIA about Neilsen and Nescoll on June 22, 2012. It said: “The beneficial owner of the companies is Maryam Safdar whose address is Saroor Palace, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It also attached the photocopy of Maryam Safdar’s passport.” It also informed the agency that the directors of the companies are Minerva Officer Limited and Corporate Officer Limited. The companies have loan account with Deutsche Bank, Geneva, it further said.
The law firm also communicated to FIA that it does not have names, contact details and physical addresses of the settlers, trustees and beneficiaries of any trust connected and concerned with Neilsen and Nescoll.
Mossack Fonseca also sent email to Michael Rossiter, trust officer of Minerva Trust and Corporate Services Limited, about its directors and shareholders, details of bank accounts or assets of Neilsen and Nescoll.
Michael Rossiter informed the law company that Minerva Trust Company is the company secretary, not director for both Neilsen and Nescoll, and the loan account is with Deutsche Bank, Geneva.
It also wrote that there are no other companies connected with the two companies and there is no trust connected with it. Michael further informed Mossack Fonseca through email that Neilsen and Nescoll are owned by Maryam Safdar, while Nescoll owns 17 Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, and Neilsen owns Flat No 16. It said property is not rented; it is only occupied by the owner (Maryam) and her family.
The PTI evidence also includes the screenshots of the official webpage of ICIJ which showed that Maryam Safdar and her brothers did not respond to repeated requests from the ICIJ for comments prior to publication of its report regarding Panama Papers in relation to the PM’s family members.
Tariq Asad advocate, another petitioner, also filed an application requesting the court to constitute a judicial commission without taking consent of the parties. He prayed to the court to finally decide to constitute a commission to probe the money laundering and tax evasions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members. He said investigation should be launched against Imran Khan, Jehangir Tareen, General (r) Pervez Musharraf, Saifullah along with his family members, Rehman Malik, Benazir Bhutto’s legal heirs and also those who are found involved in the alleged corrupt practices and that those whom the top court deems fit may also be dealt with in accordance with law equally.
Soon after PTI’s lawyers submitted evidence in the apex court, Imran Khan, while addressing a press conference, claimed the fresh evidence submitted by his party before the Supreme Court against the ruling family in connection with the Panama leaks was “genuine” and could be verified from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
“These documents are genuine as we have sought these from the website of the ICIJ and could be verified from it,” Khan said.
“We first downloaded the date from the website of the ICIJ and then went through the back end data of the ICIJ that contained thousands of emails, some of its parts were in the Spanish language,” he said.
Responding to a question about the veracity of the documents, he said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should file a damages suit against the consortium if these documents, which were submitted before the apex court, were fake. “He (Nawaz) will get billions in damages suit,” he said adding that the overseas workers of the party had helped the PTI got those documents from the ICIJ. “The documents are public and no one had disputed them till now,” Khan said.
The Supreme Court now has a trail of documents to investigate the issue, he said and sought the matter should now be decided at the earliest. Khan said the PTI would accept the decision of the Supreme Court in the Panama leaks case.
“The newly formed bench is powerful and we are hopeful and previously we had showed disappointed over the break in the hearing of the case,” he said, adding, “But this break proved a blessing for us as we succeeded in getting fresh evidence.”
Flanked by senior party leaders including Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jehangir Khan Tareen, Khan said the documents proved that Maryam Nawaz, daughter of the prime minister, was the real beneficiary of two companies, Neilson and Nescoll, based in Panama and the Mayfair properties of London belonged to this company. “The ruling PML-N had earlier denied that the letter of FIA (Financial Investigation Agency) of British Virgin Islands to Mossack, Fonseca & Co, in which the agency had raised six queries about Neilson and Nescoll, had no relation to its properties,” he said, adding that the documents got from the ICIJ proved the veracity of this letter.
“On the basis of fresh documents, now the PTI will prove before the court that Maryam Nawaz was the actual beneficiary of the Neilcon and Nescoll. The second thing we will prove that Hussain Nawaz had established no trust of which Maryam Nawaz being described as its trustee,” the PTI chief said. He said the letter of Qatari prince was fraud, which claimed that the Sharif family purchased London properties as a settlement of accounts of their shared business. The prime minister had lied before the Supreme Court as well,” he said, adding the prime minister had committed a perjury. “The Qatari prince should also be sent behind bars for telling a lie,” he said.
Khan said after proving before the court that Maryam Nawaz was the real owner of these companies, the question will arise from where Rs4 billion came to buy the Mayfair properties. “This huge money did not reflect in the declaration forms of her spouse. Everything is fraud except the only thing that isn’t fake is Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s affidavit (about committing money laundering) which he had submitted before a court,” he said. He said the money was actually laundered from Pakistan and this was whitened through the Economic Reforms of 1992 passed by the then PML-N government.
Tareen, who gave a detailed briefing to reporters about the fresh documents, said he had established offshore companies through legal channels of the banking system and all the money trails of the banks were there. “I had paid taxes on this money to establish offshore companies of which my children were the beneficial owners and all this reflected in my declaration papers,” he said.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 04-Jan-2017 here.