ISLAMABAD: Despite protestations of innocence from the Sharif family lawyers pleading the Panamagate case before the Supreme Court, the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung has released more documents supposedly linking Maryam Nawaz Sharif to the company that owns the Park Lane flats in London.
After the first round of documents released on Monday was dismissed as “forged” by Shahid Hamid, the counsel for Maryam Nawaz, SZ Investigativ, the investigative arm of the German publication, tweeted more documents on Tuesday, and again on Thursday.
Tuesday’s release consisted of a letter from J. Nizbeth Maduro, money laundering reporting officer for Mossack Fonseca — the Panamanian law firm whose internal documents comprise the Panama Papers — to Errol George, Director of the Financial Investigation Agency (FIA) of the British Virgin Islands.
This document, which names Mariam Safdar — the married name of Maryam Nawaz — as the beneficial owner of Neilsen Enterprises Limited, is not new and was included in the documents submitted to the SC by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) alongside the Panamagate petition.
The document states, among other things, that Neilsen “has a loan account with Deutsche Bank Geneva”.
However, in a statement, Maryam Nawaz has already denied being the recipient or a participant in the correspondence between Mossack Fonseca and the British Virgin Islands’ FIA. “Mossack Fonseca is a law firm and not a court of law and no letter of the firm could confer the title of properties on her,” her statement submitted to the court said.
Then, on Thursday, SZ Investigativ sent out another couple of tweets containing yet more documents related to the case. The first tweet, which was accompanied by two documents, read: “For public interest the loans from Deutsche Bank AG to two offshore companies owned by [the] daughter of PM of Pakistan according to Panama Papers.”
The attached documents bear the heading ‘Register of Charges’; one relates to Neilsen and the other to Nescoll and appear to refer to mortgage agreements for apartments 16 and 16A, Avenfield House between Deutsche Bank and the ‘holder of the charge’. Interestingly, the addresses provided for the ‘Chargee for the Security’ and ‘Holder of the Charge’ are the same: the London branch of Deutsche Bank AG.
In another tweet on Thursday, the German publication released redacted screenshots of email correspondence between Michael Rossiter of the Minerva Trust and Corporate Services and Sandra N. de Cornejo, Mossack Fonseca’s head of compliance, as well as other internal Fonseca communications.
The screenshots were accompanied by the message: “In these Panama Papers emails the daughter of Pakistan’s PM is clearly named as owner of 2 offshore companies & London flats”.
Some of these emails were also annexed with the PTI’s original Panamagate petition. The most significant detail in these documents is that they name, once again, Mariam Safdar as the beneficial owner of both Nescoll and Neilsen, which are said to own one flat each in Avenfield House. One of the emails states: “Neither property is rented and only occupied by the owner and her family.”
This email, dated June 22, 2012, does not seem to fit in with the timeline provided to the court by Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, where it was claimed that after 2006, Hussain Nawaz became the sole beneficial owner of the London properties.
Another email in the same chain explicitly states “there is no trust connected” with either company, which contradicts Maryam’s stance before the Supreme Court.
The apex court has repeatedly expressed concern over the authenticity of these documents, which have been downloaded from the Internet and their author has not been cross-examined by the court.
Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2017