THE influential Saifullah family from Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, holds a bigger offshore property portfolio in the United Kingdom than any other Pakistani politician or businessman, according to a Dawn investigation.
The Pheasantry — a farmhouse located in the leafy Bramshill Park, Hampshire — is the crown jewel in the Saifullah estate in the UK. Bought in 1996 for 865,000 pounds sterling through Aqua Nominees Ltd (a multi-layered offshore company incorporated in Jersey), the farmhouse has six bedrooms, seven reception rooms, five bathrooms and a vast piece of agricultural land. “There is a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi with TV and music system and a tennis court. Beyond is stunning parkland and wonderful mixed, mature woodland. There is also an abundance of deer and wildlife on the estate,” according to Anastasia Bernhardt who wrote a “Property of the Month” piece about The Pheasantry when the newly-refurbished farmhouse was put on the market five years ago.
So big is the farmhouse that the 9,000-square-foot built-up area and the adjoining 334 acres of agricultural land have been mentioned in the UK land record under multiple entries. As it was on the market in 2013 for an estimated guide price of around eight million pounds sterling, its current market value could be over 10 million pounds sterling.
It is worth noting that the possession of offshore property does not necessarily suggest any wrongdoing on the part of any particular person, company or entity.
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The Pheasantry reflects both in size and value the legendary Surrey Palace spread over 355 acres which was bought by former President Asif Ali Zardari.
Just two years after purchasing The Pheasantry, another pricey item was bought in Central London through Aqua Nominees Ltd, the offshore company linked to the Saifullah family. The terraced house on Southwick Street in Central London was purchased for half a million pounds sterling some 20 years ago in 1998.
According to the UK land registry record, the offshore company, Aqua Nominees Ltd, owns another property on Albion Street in Central London. Besides, another offshore company linked to the Saifullah family, the UK Property Investment Ltd, purchased a flat on 13th floor in Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge. While the exact price of the Park Plaza flat is not known, a similar size flat on the same floor was sold in September 2016 for 430,000 pounds sterling.
Albion Street is an expensive neighbourhood as three houses were sold on the street for an average price of 3.5 million pounds and the land registry record shows that the offshore company linked to the Saifullah family owns two houses (1 and 2) on Albion Street.
The group owns three properties in Worcester in West Midlands through Aqua Trust Company Limited — a piece of land on Saint Martins Place, land and buildings on the north side of Saint Martins Place and the Jaguar Centre on City Walls Road.
Ashby Limited, an offshore company incorporated in Belize and linked to former federal minister Salim Saifullah Khan, owns a parking space on Cleeve Way, Sutton.
There is no mention of any residential or commercial property owned by any offshore company owned by the Saifullah family. However, the link of the offshore companies to the Saifullahs has also been substantiated by the Panama Papers investigation. The Saifullah family is not the only Pakistani farmhouse owner in Hampshire, the county also has a farmhouse owned by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Jehangir Tareen.
The former PTI secretary general owns Hyde House in the same county. Mr Tareen had bought Hyde House through Shiny View Ltd, an offshore company incorporated in British Virgin Islands, in 2005 for 1.2 million pounds.
Aleem Khan, another PTI leader, owns three properties in Central London that he had bought through Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd, an offshore company incorporated in British Virgin Islands.
These include a fifth-floor one-bed flat in Park West on Edgware Road that he had bought for 300,000 pounds in July 2007. Two similar flats on the same floor in West Park were sold for around half a million pounds in June and August 2017.
Mr Khan owns another flat in Marble Arch Apartments that he had bought through his offshore company for 220,000 pounds in August 2002. Two similar flats in Marble Arch Apartments were sold last year for 495,000 pounds and 415,000 pounds, respectively.
Mr Khan’s third offshore property is situated at another very sought after location, Westcliffe Apartments, West End Quay, South Wharf Road, London. He had bought this property for around 405,000 pounds only six months ago.
Zulfi Bukhari, a close confidante of PTI chief Imran Khan, owns two expensive Central London properties which he had bought through offshore companies. According to the UK land registry record, Bradbury Resources Limited — an offshore company linked to Zulfi Bukhari — owns stakes in 30 Ennismore Gardens. The estimated market value of the property can be gauged from the fact that a flat in the Ennismore Gardens was sold for 949,950 pounds in July 2008.
Samina Durrani, mother-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister and newly-elected President of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Mian Shahbaz Sharif, owns an expensive residential property in Central London. She bought the property through Armani River Ltd, an offshore company incorporated in Bahamas, for 480,000 pounds in September 2002. The current value of the property can be well over a million pounds. Two flats of the same size and on the same floor were sold for 1.080 million and 1.425 million pounds in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2018
Dawn, upon further investigation, has discovered that the two property-owning companies — Ashby Limited incorporated in Belize, and Aqua Nominees Limited incorporated in Jersey — do not belong to the Saifullahs. The family, instead, have stakes in two companies with largely similar or identical names, Company Ashby Limited in the Seychelles and Aqua Nominees Limited, also in the Seychelles. The Saifullah family has nothing to do with Aqua Nominees Limited incorporated in Jersey and Ashby Limited incorporated in Belize.
A spokesman for Dawn has issued a formal statement: “We regret the error and apologise to the Saifullah family for incorrectly attributing to them the ownership of a farmhouse The Pheasantry and properties in Southwhich Street and Albion Street in central London, Cleeve Way, Sutton and Worcester in West Midlands.”