ISLAMABAD/LONDON: The £190 million settlement between Malik Riaz and the UK’s National Crime Agency belongs to the state of Pakistan, an NCA spokesperson has said.
In an exclusive conversation with The Pakistan Daily, the senior official from NCA held: “The agreement stated that the money to be returned to the state of Pakistan.”
The official from NCA also told this correspondent that the link to Malik Riaz’s settlement had been removed from their website due to the UK’s data protection laws, not due to any litigation conducted by the Malik Riaz family.
On 3 December 2019, the NCA and Malik Riaz entered into an agreement in which NCA took control of several bank accounts belonging to Malik Riaz and his family, as well as One Hyde Park Place which was valued at £50 million.
It is pertinent to mention that Malik Riaz’s family had bought One Hyde Park Place from Hasan Nawaz Sharif, son of former PM Nawaz Sharif for a price of £42.5 million. One Hyde Park is located just opposite Hasan Nawaz’s office in Stanhope House which also serves as PMLN’s party headquarters in London.
“The NCA has accepted a settlement offer in 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,” the NCA tweeted from its official account on 3 December 2019.
It added: “The £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national, whose business is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan.”
Whilst it was made clear that the settlement “was a civil matter and did not represent any findings of guilt”, the NCA has now clarified that the money did indeed belong to the state of Pakistan.
However, once the money was repatriated back to Pakistan, then Prime Minister Imran Khan made the funds available to Malik Riaz once again so that he could pay another fine due to the Supreme court of Pakistan.
According to a cabinet document in the possession of The Pakistan Daily, the Special Assistant on Accountability and Interior, Mr Shehzad Akbar briefed the cabinet in camera on the Account Freezing Orders (AFOs) and repatriation of funds to Pakistan in the Ahmed Ali Riaz & Family and Messrs Bahria Town.
Surreptitiously, “secrecy” was used as an argument to not reveal the details according to which the funds were returned to Malik Riaz and his family. The document however can be desealed if it is required to be presented before any court of law.
It has been accepted by various government sources that Malik Riaz used the money from the NCA to pay a 460 billion rs fine due to the Supreme Court of Pakistan for irregularities in Bahria Town Karachi.
Sources claim that instalments of that fine are not being deposited and so far, Bahria Town has not even deposited 20% of the total fine which was supposed to be paid monthly in seven years that began in 2019.
Malik Riaz is currently being investigated by Pakistan’s accountability watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau on the NCA judgement as well as purported bribes given to Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi that includes but is not limited to 458 kanals in Jhelum.
Furthermore, in a leaked call, Malik Riaz can be heard arguing with his daughter after Bushra Bibi purportedly rejected a 3 carat diamond ring and demanded a 5 carat ring instead.
The Pakistan Daily has also reported that Farah Gogi, a close friend of both Imran Khan’s wife and Malik Riaz’s daughter travelled in a Bahria Town plane in April 2019 to sell a Graff set gifted to Imran Khan by Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.
The buyer, Umar Farooq Zahoor confirmed to The Pakistan Daily that he bought the one-of-a-kind set which featured a watch with a Kabah-styled dial for a sum of $2 million.
Malik Riaz initiated legal action against The Pakistan Daily for reporting this story which is still ongoing.
Malik Riaz was asked for his version regarding NCA’s statement but he did not respond to a request for comment, though adequate time was given and the story was halted in order to wait for the Bahria Town Chairman’s version.