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NAB efforts to collect evidence against Sharif hit snag
December 21, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: The British and Swiss governments have shown their inability to acquire required documents about the reported businesses and accounts of the Sharif family, a move which could be a serious setback for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) efforts to collect actionable evidence.

The Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and NAB through a dozen Letters of Requests (LoRs) sought sensitive information from the UK Central Authority (International Criminality Unit) and Federal Office of Justice, Intl. Legal Assistance Division of Switzerland about the Sharifs’ properties, wealth and bank accounts, according to a report.

Time bound procedural and legal complications have become a stumbling block in the way to collect conclusive evidence from both British and Swiss authorities, the NAB says. Both countries have expressed their inability to share the specific documents accordingly.

Commenting on the development, a Sharif family member said that they can’t dig out something which doesn’t exist at all.

Pakistani authorities under Article 46 of the UN Convention against Corruption and Section 21 of NAB Ordinance 1999, collectively wrote around a dozen LoRs to the UK Central Authority and Swiss Office of Justice, Int. Legal Assistance Division in the past six months. An executive summary of Volume X revealed that authorities on 6th June sought “particulars of account holders (recipients) of US$3,462, 968 laundered from Pakistan through various fake accounts” and on 1st July sought details of “transfer of $ 350,000 from Sulman Zia’s account to an offshore company ‘M/s Shamrock Consulting Corporation,’ (Ac/No 12135914), Lloyds Bank, Stock Market Branch, London, in three transactions between Jan 3, 1993 to Feb 1, 1993 from Swiss authorities.

This amount of $350,000 was further transferred by Shamrock Consulting Corporation to the account of Hans Rudolf Wegmuller in Zurich at Banque Paribas en Sulve. Hans Rudlf egmuller was Director of Banque Paribas en Suisse as well as of M/s Ansbacher (Schweiz) AG, which was reportedly administering offshore companies of the Sharif family. Wegmuller was a director of Banque Paribas on Suisse as well.

These transactions were made through “US$150,019 vide TXN:118817 from Bank Al-Habib AG Zurich on 1st Jan 1993 by order of UBS Zurich, $95,000 vide TXT:119707 from Bank Al-Habib AG Zurich on Jan 27, 1993 in by order of UBS Zurich, $80,000 vide TXN: 125747 from Bank Al-Habib AG Zurich on June 21, 1993 (repeated on July 21, 1993 vide TXN: 127192) by order of UBS Zurich,” revealed Volume X.

The Panama JIT on May 27, 2017 sought particulars of real beneficial owners, record of tax, utility bills and ground rent etc. of Mayfair properties from the UK Central Authority (Intl Criminality Unit) Home office, London. The JIT again on June 6, 2017 sought all orders and the judgment of high court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division London in case No 1998-A991 (Al-Towfeek Company for Investment Funds London Vs. Hudaibiya Paper Mills Ltd), Documents pertaining to out of the court settlement between the parties, proof showing mode of satisfaction of loan and identity of the person who returned the loan.

On June 27, 2017, the Foreign Office of Pakistan on request of JIT sought record relating to remittances of $350,000 from Ac/No. 12135914, Lloyds Bank, Stock Market Branch, London of ‘M/s Shamrck Consulting Corporation’ to Mr Hans Rudolf Wegmuller (as detailed above), confirmation of address of Shamrock Consulting in Bank’s file for Ac/No.12135914, Lloyds Bank as ‘C/o Ansbacher Switzerland” was also requested. Volume X further revealed that Panama JIT on June 27, 2017 also sought record links to loan obtained by CGI, Neilson and Nescoll by pledging Mayfair Properties (16-16-A) and financial interests of Sharifs’ family in these companies according to the record of Deutsche Bank AG London, United Bank of Switzerland in UK, Halifax Bank, Sasto and Linger (Solicitor) and Freemans (Solicitors).

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