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Dawn Investigations: The Pakistanis who have offshore properties worth millions

At least three PTI leaders and mother-in-law of PML-N’s new president hold offshore property worth millions of pounds.
Updated Apr 16, 2018 12:51pm

The farmhouse owned by the Saifullahs is located in the leafy Bramshill Park of Hampshire.
The farmhouse owned by the Saifullahs is located in the leafy Bramshill Park of Hampshire.

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.

At least three PTI leaders and mother-in-law of PML-N’s new president hold offshore property worth millions of pounds

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.”

LONDON: A medical doctor running a private hospital in Rawalpindi’s poor Arya Mohalla locality and a businessman arrested in London on drug charges are among many Pakistani businessmen holding UK properties through offshore companies, according to a Dawn investigation.

These new facts go against the public perception in Pakistan that only politicians are hiding their wealth from the taxman and the anti-corruption bodies in the UK properties bought through offshore companies.

Dr Raazia Ajmal runs Ajmal Hospital in narrow lanes of Arya Mohalla, opposite Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, but she is also the owner of Mill Cross Limited, an offshore company incorporated in Bahamas. It was through her offshore company that Dr Raazia Ajmal bought a six-bedroom terraced house on The Vale, Golders Green, northwest London, in September 2002 for 475,000 pounds. The current market value of the property could easily be well over one million pounds as two smaller houses on the same location were sold in 2016 and 2015 for 1,160,000 and 965,000 pounds, respectively.

Asif Hafeez, a UAE-based Pakistani businessman arrested in London in August 2017 on a US Drug Enforcement Agency warrant and fighting extradition to the US from his cell in high-security Belmarsh prison, also owns two farmhouses — The Old Farm and The Old House — worth around five million pounds in Maidenhead, Berkshire, which he bought through Sarwani S.A., an offshore company incorporated in Panama. Mr Hafeez also owns an expensive flat in Crown Court, near Regent Park mosque in Central London, but it is not listed among properties he bought through offshore companies.

Corlinio Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and linked to Lahore-based industrialist and chairman Dawood Hercules Corporation, Hussain Dawood, owns a property in Bristal Gardens. The exact value of the property is not known, but a basement flat in one of the Bristal Gardens properties was bought for over a million pounds in 2017.

Tawheed International Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and linked to Karachi-based businesswoman Nosheen Riaz Khan, owns a six-bedroom detached house in Chadwich Place in Surrey. It was bought for 1,175,000 pounds in September 2010.

Minhas Securities Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and linked to Karachi-based Navaid Malik, owns a flat on Duke Street, Richmond. Although the exact purchase price of the flat is not known, an adjoining property was sold in 2011 for 800,000 pounds.

Paliser Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the Isle of Man and linked to Karachi-based businessman Abdul Rehman Allana, owns a property on York Road, Wandsworth, London, which was bought in October 2003 for 569,800 pounds. Releck Limited, another offshore company also incorporated in the Isle of Man and linked to Mr Allana, owns a property on Palace Road in Lambeth, London, which was purchased for 570,000 pounds in January 2017.

Drayson Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and linked to Karachi-based Maha Abedi Dadabhoy, owns a flat on Southwick Street which was bought in July 2009 for 380,000 pounds, though the current market value of the property could be much higher as a flat in Devonport establishment where this is situated was sold in 2016 for 950,000 pounds. The same offshore company owns another property in Kirkgate, Oatley, Leeds.

Cherryvale Estate Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, linked to Lahore-based couple Rubina Haider (also known as Rubina Riaz) and Riaz Haider Ali, owns two properties. The first property, situated on Kingsbury Road, London, was bought for 128,000 pounds in June 2005, though the current price of the property could be much higher. The second property linked to Rubina Riaz and Riaz Haider Ali is situated on Liverpool Road, London. Although the exact price of the property is unknown, a flat on the same address was sold for 460,000 pounds in February 2013.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2018

Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family own four luxury flats in Avenfield House: 16, 16a, 17 and 17a, all situated on one floor and converted into one big house by removing partition walls.
Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family own four luxury flats in Avenfield House: 16, 16a, 17 and 17a, all situated on one floor and converted into one big house by removing partition walls.

LONDON: The family of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is not the only resident of Avenfield House on London’s Park Lane who bought their properties through offshore companies incorporated in tax havens.

According to the UK Land Registry record, the majority of flats in Avenfield House are owned by offshore companies incorporated in tax havens like Panama, the British Virgin Islands and Guernsey.

The Nielsen Enterprises Limited and the Nescoll Limited, two offshore companies linked to the family of Mr Sharif, own four luxury flats in Avenfield House: 16, 16a, 17 and 17a, all situated on one floor and converted into one big house by removing partition walls.

Majority of flats in the building are owned by offshore companies incorporated in tax havens like Panama, British Virgin Islands and Guernsey

The flat 17 was the first to be bought by the Nawaz Sharif family through the Nescoll Limited in June 1993. It was followed by the purchase of flats 16 and 16a which were both bought on July 31, 1995.

The flat 17a was the last to be bought by the Nawaz Sharif family on 23 July 1996.

The Sharif family also owns another property in Avenfield House, flat 12a, but it is not purchased through an offshore company but through the Flagship Investment Limited, a firm registered with Companies House in the United Kingdom with Hasan Nawaz Sharif as one of its directors.

The title deed of this flat shows a purchase price of 365,000 pounds and completion date of Jan 29, 2004.

Of the other Avenfield House properties, flat 20 and 21 are owned by the Hung Yip Development Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands while flat 9 and 10 are owned by the Mellen Management Limited, incorporated in Panama.

The basement and mezzanine floors of Avenfield House are owned by the Avenfield S.A., an offshore company incorporated in the Netherlands, while flat 6 is owned by the Mia Management Limited, an offshore company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

Flat 18 of Avenfield House is owned by Abyaar Holdings Limited, an offshore company incorporated in Guernsey.

Avenfield House is not the worst example of property holding through offshore companies as the nearby Edgware Road has around 150 properties bought through companies incorporated in tax havens.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2018