ISLAMABAD/HEATHROW: A day after his party denied that Imran Khan owned a London flat through an offshore company, the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf (PTI) chairman himself admitted he formed an offshore company to buy the London flat in 1983 to evade British taxes.
Speaking to reporters at London Heathrow Airport, Imran said he formed the offshore firm on the advice of his accountant to evade taxes during his playing days to buy a flat in London.
"I was already paying 35 per cent tax on my income there, so to evade further taxes, I bought the flat through an offshore firm, which was my right as I was not a British citizen," Imran told the reporters.
Meanwhile, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq also admitted that his party chief had formed a 'legal' offshore company through his earnings from cricket, which owned his London flat.
While speaking on Geo News talkshow 'Naya Pakistan', PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq took back his earlier denial.
"I was Imran Khan's bank manager in London at that time, his accountants formed this company to buy the London flat," said the PTI spokesman.
He added that when the flat was sold, Imran brought the money to Pakistan through Habib Bank.
Answering a question about Imran Khan's tax returns and this offshore firm, Haq said he will "reveal the details to the media on Saturday after talking to Imran Khan's accountant".
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, while speaking during Geo TV show 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath' criticised Imran Khan for repeatedly denying the possession of any offshore firm.
Moreover, prime minister's daughter Maryam Nawaz, through her official Twitter account, termed PTI chief the 'pioneer' of offshore companies.
PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, on the other hand, said that Imran Khan cannot be compared to Hassan Nawaz as his source of income is declared and he is voluntarily presenting himself for accountability.
"We demand accountability for all but as our terms dictate, it should start with prime minister and his family," said the PPP Senator.
In an interview published in The News on Friday, PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq was quoted as saying that Imran Khan himself owned the flat and it was not bought by an offshore company.
The report published in the paper stated that a 'Benami' offshore firm ‘Niazi Services Limited’ owned Imran Khan's flat in South Kensington, London.
According to the paper, the offshore firm was established for 'sporting consultancy' and was active till 2011. The London flat was however sold on March 17, 2003.
When asked why he denied the existence of the offshore company earlier, Haq simply said he forgot.
Imran Khan had severely criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family for owning and benefiting from offshore companies after the ICIJ investigation which led to the release of Panama papers revealing offshore accounts of the rich and mighty across the world.
He, along with other opposition leaders, demanded the prime minister to resign until the issue is investigated and the premier gets a clean chit.
Just two days ago, he told a public rally that the Panama Papers exposed how 'corrupt' our PM was.