Time for NAB to probe Sharif family, says Imran after Panama Papers leak

Published April 4, 2016
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan addressing media men in Islamabad on Monday, Apr 4, 2016. – DawnNews
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan addressing media men in Islamabad on Monday, Apr 4, 2016. – DawnNews

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Monday demanded that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiate a thorough investigation into the financial holdings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members after a massive leak of secret files from a Panamanian law firm revealed they “owned or had the right to authorise transactions for several offshore companies.”

Read: ‘Panama Papers’ reveal Sharif family’s ‘offshore holdings’.

“Probes have already been initiated in several countries – including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and France – across the globe after their leaders and office bearers were implicated,” said Imran.

“Why not an investigation in Pakistan?” he questioned.

“If NAB wants to maintain its credibility, it should immediately begin a probe into Nawaz Sharif’s family.”

He went on to say that “Nawaz Sharif should explain how his children made all this money.”

“Have you paid tax on this income?”

Imran said the data leak was a defining moment for Pakistan, adding that: “How can those who launder money from Pakistan to offshore accounts ask others to invest in Pakistan?”

Read: Tax authorities across world begin probes into nationals named in Panama Papers leak

He said Maryam Nawaz had given a statement two years ago saying her family did not have any asset abroad.

“But now Hussain Nawaz comes on TV and accepts that Maryam owns two offshore companies.”

The PTI chief alleged “this money that is going abroad is corruption money from mega projects.”

“I have declared all my assets,” said the PTI chief. “Whatever I own is under my name and is inside Pakistan. Anyone can ask me for an explanation. Can we not ask them the source of their money? Who are they? Are they royals?”

Panama Papers revelations

An investigation published April 3 by an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets, based on 11.5 million records of offshore holdings, details how politicians, celebrities and other famous people use banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets.

According to documents available on the ICIJ website, the PM’s children Mariam, Hasan and Hussain “were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies”.

Mariam is described as “the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”.

On one of the documents released by ICIJ, the address listed for Nielsen Enterprises is Saroor Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The document, dated June 2012, describes Mariam Safdar as the ‘beneficial owner’.

According to ICIJ, “Hussain and Mariam signed a document dated June 2007 that was part of a series of transactions in which Deutsche Bank Geneva lent up to $13.8 million to Nescoll, Nielsen and another company, with their London properties as collateral.”

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