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Thursday, May 23, 2024

NCA, UK settlement with Malik Riaz: Implications for Pakistani Politics

National Crime Agency, UK, has agreed on a settlement of £190 million with a leading Pakistani business tycoon. Money will be transferred to Govt. of Pakistan. This has huge implications for Pakistani politics.

Pakistani media had been reporting on one property (valued around £50 million) which appears to be part of this deal, for the past several months and it apparently belonged to Hassan Nawaz, self exiled son of former PM, Nawaz Sharif. The settlement includes a UK property valued at approximately £50 million.

The National Crime Agency has, according to its own website and twitter handle, agreed on a settlement figure with a family that owns large property developments in Pakistan and elsewhere.

According to NCA website, The £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national, whose business is one of the biggest private-sector employers in Pakistan.

Malik Riaz first surfaced to prominence with his Bahria Scheme around Rawalpindi and Islamabad and is reputed to have links with every one who matters in Pakistani government and politics. For the past several months, Pakistani social media was alive with the rumours that some of the key Pakistani politicians facing corruption cases in NAB will ultimately pay though third parities to avoid conviction – and Malik Riaz’s name was being mentioned in this regards.

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In August 2019, according to UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), eight account freezing orders were secured at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in connection with funds totalling around £120 million. These followed an earlier freezing order in December 2018 linked to the same investigation for £20 million. All of the account freezing orders relate to money held in UK bank accounts.

The NCA has accepted a settlement offer in the region of £190 million which includes a UK property, 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH, valued at approximately £50 million and all of the funds in the frozen accounts. What is immensely significant is that Pakistani media had been claiming with the help of documents that 1 Hyde Park Place had previously belonged to Hassan Nawaz, youngest son of Nawaz Sharif.

read more: Sharifs money recovered through proxy? Is PM vindicated?

Hassan and Hussain, sons of Nawaz Sharif were wanted for investigations by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after the Panama scandal. However they took exile in London, UK and have been declared “proclaimed offenders” (PO) by Pakistani courts.

The assets will be returned to the State of Pakistan. This development will have huge implications for Pakistani politics. While ex-Prime Minister’s son seem to be avoiding conviction but politics will absorb it differently – leaving no doubt in minds that family was guilty as charged in public debate.

Nawaz Sharif, convicted in other cases, recently left Pakistan on medical grounds after getting bails from courts. Bails were given on grounds that were new in Pakistan’s legal history and it was widely believed that this happened as a results of a political deal in which family would pay back some of the corrupt money. And that it will be paid back though third parties. PMLN leaders strongly denied such accusations, however now the NCA, UK story will be hugely embarrassing for PMLN.

This is a developing News Story.