Gen Akhtar’s sons deny Swiss account claims

Published February 22, 2022
A file photo of former senator Haroon Akhtar Khan. — DawnNewsTV screengrab
A file photo of former senator Haroon Akhtar Khan. — DawnNewsTV screengrab

LAHORE: The sons of a former Pakistani intelligence chief, who was named in the ‘Suisse secrets’ leak of banking data, on Monday refuted the claims made by the network of foreign journalists regarding their father’s holdings in Swiss banks.

Former senator Haroon Akhtar Khan, who was also a member of the cabinet of ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said that reports written on the basis of leaked Credit Suisse data claimed that their father opened a bank account in 1985 and that years later that account held a sizeable sum of money.

When asked to confirm whether his family did have accounts in Credit Suisse, Haroon Akhtar claimed “these accounts do not exist”.

One of his brothers, who asked not to be named, told Dawn that none of the countries that funded the war in Afghanistan had ever accused his late father of misappropriation.

He said that all four brothers left Pakistan to study in Canada in the mid-1970s, while their education was financed through the sale of a plot the family owned in Lahore’s Shadman area. He claimed that their business ventures started with the purchase of a soft drink factory in 1988.

Read more: Gen Zia's spy chief among those named in Credit Suisse leak

Separately, appearing on the Geo News programme Capital Talk on Monday night, Haroon Akhtar was asked whether he or his family were considering taking any legal action against the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). To this, he replied: “This option is absolutely open”.

He said he and his brothers were taxpayers whose assets were fully disclosed, adding, “We deal with multinationals, run joint ventures, we are exporters, we have letters of credit in our name and deal with banks day in, day out.”

Mr Haroon contended that people regularly questioned how his family’s businesses were so successful, adding that it was a common belief that since he was in the military, Gen Akhtar must have had a role in promoting their business interests.

He said his father passed away in 1988 and there was no link between the businesses that he and his brothers ran and Gen Akhtar.

OCCRP’s report had stated that one of the two Akhtar family accounts at Credit Suisse — held jointly by three of Akhtar’s sons — was opened on July 1, 1985.

By 2003, this account had at least five million Swiss francs ($3.7 million at the time).

A second account, opened in January 1986 in Akbar’s name alone, was worth more than 9 million Swiss francs by November 2010 ($9.2 million at the time).”

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022

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