LONDON: One of Pakistan’s richest and most powerful men, Malik Riaz Hussain still owns a luxurious £50 million London mansion despite an agreement to settle with the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom to pay £190 million to the government of Pakistan, including the proceeds of the aforementioned mansion.
The seven floor uber luxurious mansion is located right besides Hyde Park and is one of the most expensive homes in Central London. The mansion includes a swimming pool, gym, sauna, 10 bedrooms and is also a Grade II listed property.
15 months after the agreement, the mansion is still owned and used by Bahria Town founder, Malik Riaz Hussain.
As per the agreement with the NCA, Malik Riaz was supposed to hand over £190 million (£140 million from 9 bank accounts and the £50 million mansion) to the government of Pakistan, however, surreptitious dealings by representatives of the government itself have allegedly favoured Malik Riaz and helped him use this £190 million to repay a £2.6 billion fine on Bahria Town imposed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
An investigation by Essex News and Investigations reveals that Malik Riaz has met the head of Pakistan’s Asset Recovery Unit, Barrister Shehzad Akbar multiple times in London in Hyde Park and The Dorchester Hotel.
The NCA had not disclosed the exact deal with Malik Riaz regarding the £190 million fine, however, legal experts have been dumbfounded while noting that Malik Riaz was using the money for the NCA fine to pay the Supreme Court fine.
Essex News and Investigations holds that: “Mr Akbar later told a press conference the money was going to the Supreme Court, but said due to a confidentiality agreement, he could not comment further.
He said: “Is the Supreme Court not part of the government? So if the money goes to the apex court it means that the money comes to the state.”
Pakistan-based Journalist Muhammad Ziauddin, the former editor of The Express Tribune said: “How could an amount of tainted money recovered from Malik Riaz in the UK and returned to State of Pakistan go into the Supreme Court account as a settlement of part of a huge fine imposed by the court on the same alleged offender of money laundering for gabbing a vast tract of pricey land in Karachi’s Malir district?
“The biggest beneficiary of this Houdini act performed by Shahzad Akbar is our real estate tycoon, Malik Riaz.”
An NCA spokesperson told Essex News and Investigations: “We are not able for legal reasons to comment on details of the settlement or on the existence of NCA investigations. The receipt from the property will be returned once it is sold. Our statement in December 2019 stated that all the assets will be returned to Pakistan.
“It stated that the assets will be returned to the state of Pakistan. It does not claim the assets were paid to the NCA..
“The £140 million in the accounts that were initially frozen has already been returned.”
“There is widespread reporting in Pakistan media of comments from Mr Akbar that ‘The money has been transferred to the Supreme Court and we have already filed a request before the apex court that the money should be given to us (Pakistan Government).”
Malik Riaz Hussain had bought this property from Hasan Nawaz Sharif at the price of £42.5 million on 21 March 2016.