The asset recovery firm’s claim of having information about Nawaz Sharif’s $1 billion stashed in a Singapore bank is in contrast with the value of all assets of the former PM determined by the forensic experts of Broadsheet, who estimated them at $820 million, reveals the verdict of the arbitration judge.
Kaveh Moussavi, the CEO of Broadsheet, had been “alerted, via high-level contacts in Saudi Arabia, that one billion dollars had left Saudi Arabia by wire transfer to a bank account in Southeast Asia [Singapore] to the order of Nawaz Sharif,” according to a classified communication that Moussavi’s lawyer dispatched to the foreign law firm hired by NAB. It came to public knowledge a few days ago. This communication was intended to outline efforts made for a renegotiation contract but that, it said, the opportunity was lost as Pakistani officials demanded “cuts” in deal for repatriating $1 billion.
However this claim of $1 billion comes under question when examined in the light of assets’ valuation of Nawaz Sharif. Their value was assessed during the course of arbitration on the Broadsheet-related litigation. All the assets owned and attributed to Sharif family were examined by a consulting firm, Stroz Friedberg, which was hired by Broadsheet for the purpose. The NAB has engaged another consultant, FTI, in order to cross-check the assets valuation made by the Broadsheet’s experts. The valuation report has been referred to in the judgment as Stroz Friedberg Report.
Interestingly, all the assets combined listed in the JIT report have been valued lesser than $1 billion. Again, the enlisted assets are not the only “currently held by members of the Sharif family; rather, it lists items of property which have been held or attributed to them over a period of twenty years or more,” reads the verdict of Sir Anthony Evans, the arbitration judge, in the Broadsheet case.
The Panama Paper’s JIT Report was the source of information of forensic experts to collect details of the assets.
“The 2017/8 proceedings, however, in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, including the JIT Investigation and Report, have produced a very different situation where (subject to pending appeals) there is an authoritative listing of personal and family assets totaling (as corrected) US$820 million, both in Pakistan and abroad.”
In Pakistan, Sharif family’s assets were valued at $622 million, Saudi Arabia $95.6 million, United Arab Emirates $33.6 million and in the UK (excluding Avenfield apartments $114 million.
The apartments were not counted because the accountability court had declared (subject to appeal) them the property of the government.
“The values ascribed to them total US$13 million. If the Government has to prove its title before the English Courts, and then realizes their value, I would expect (and I find) that the net recovery will be not less than about US$8million,” reads the verdict of the arbitration judge.
Regarding the authenticity of information about purported $1billion, there is no final word. However, a source said, the matter was brought to Nawaz Sharif’s knowledge a few weeks before he got disqualified from the Supreme Court when a messenger shared this information on somebody else’s behalf who was in a position of authority. Nawaz Sharif reacted to it rather in a lighter tone.
“Ask him to give me 10% of that fund and keep the remaining 90%,” he quipped. This information was later shared with a journalist who promised to break the story but demanded proof to back this claim.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, it is learnt, was also told about this dossier after he became prime minister but he outrightly dismissed it, according to a person who worked with him. How true the information is will only be determined when efforts are made for repatriation of this fund. As of to-date, the government hasn’t taken any step on the basis of this information.
Broadsheet had been “alerted that one billion dollars had left Saudi Arabia by wire transfer to a bank account in Singapore to the order of Nawaz Sharif