ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Saturday told the Supreme Court that neither Worcestershire nor Sussex County, for whom he played between 1971 and 1988, maintained salary records beyond 20 years.
The court had sought a money trail for his Draycott Avenue apartment in London, which he claimed to have purchased through the offshore company, Niazi Services.
But by 1980, Mr Khan was the highest paid overseas player in the UK, said a miscellaneous application moved by senior counsel Naeem Bokhari on Mr Khan’s behalf.
PTI chief maintains London apartment purchased from county, Kerry Packer earnings
A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, will on July 25 resume hearing the petition of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi, which seeks the disqualification of Mr Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen for non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies and allegations that the party received foreign funding.
At the last hearing on July 13, the apex court had asked Mr Khan’s counsel to submit documents that established the sources of the money used to buy the apartment.
But Mr Khan’s lawyer explained that there could not have been any money laundering at that time, saying that the PTI chief’s only job was as a professional cricketer and that he was entirely self-sufficient in his financial obligations throughout his overseas career.
In his application, substantiated with the necessary documents, Mr Khan explained that besides a salary, he also received payments for endorsements, newspaper articles, interviews and prize money in the Kerry Packer Series, but did not have any record of the exact schedule of employment for himself.
However, as an example, the contract of cricketer Mushtaq Ahmed was attached, indicating what other lesser-known cricketers were paid along with the perks available to them.
During his time as a professional cricketer with Sussex County, the application stated, his contract for each season was for a period of not less than six months. On account of the number of days spent outside Pakistan to fulfil his commitment to Sussex County Cricket and to participate in other international cricketing events, Mr Khan was non-resident and outside the domain of the Pakistan’s income tax laws.
He also explained that he played for Kerry Packer from 1977 to 1979 at $25,000 per year. At that time, the dollar was worth around the same as the pound. Air fare, boarding, lodging, prize money and product endorsements were Mr Khan’s additional earnings, the application said.
The former test cricketer maintained that he also played in Australia for New South Wales between 1984 and 1985 and was paid 50,000 Australian dollars, which was equal to 25,000 British pounds at that time.
In 1984, Mr Khan mortgaged the 165 Draycott Avenue property in London’s swanky Chelsea neighbourhood — a one bedroom apartment — through the Royal Trust in the name of Niazi Services, which was purchased for around 117,500 pounds.
The 20-year mortgage included an initial down payment to the Royal Trust of 61,000 pounds, which was paid for by Mr Khan’s earnings from Sussex and out of his savings. In addition, he received $75,000 through the Kerry Packer series from 1977 to 1979.
The Royal Trust mortgage contract was created in April 2, 1984, where the interest rate was fixed at 13.75pc per year for the next five years. The mortgage on the principal amount was paid off by Mr Khan in 68 months, by Dec 1989, thus redeeming his mortgage.
This amounted to 55,000 pounds, which mostly came from earnings from Sussex, while interest payments were made from money received while playing for New South Wales.
Mr Khan claimed that in 1987, he had a good year, earning 190,000 pounds. The monies earned abroad, that enabled him to pay off the mortgage well before time, were savings from his contract with Sussex, Kerry Packer and the benefit year income, on which all withholding taxes were deducted.
Meanwhile, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that Hanif Abbasi’s petition was destined to be dismissed, since all the allegations levelled were frivolous and politically motivated.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2017