KARACHI – Paradise Papers, the latest treasure trove of documents exposing the murky wheeling and dealing of international and Pakistani influentials are not restricted to former premier Shaukat Aziz and former NICL chief Ayaz Khan Niazi.
The new leak that emerged Sunday night also sheds light on as many as 135 Pakistani citizens with accounts in a Swiss bank which they either created in their own name or through offshore companies.
Before serving as the Finance minister and prime minister of Pakistan under General Musharraf’s government, Aziz was an employee of Citibank.
He was one of the shareholders and directors of Bahamas-registered Cititrust Limited from 1997 to 1999, along with other executives of the bank.
In 1999, Aziz was appointed finance minister and created the Antarctic Trust. The Antarctic Trust’s beneficiaries include Aziz’s wife Rukhsana, their children and granddaughter.
Aziz had set up the trust in Delaware (USA) before becoming finance minister. Interestingly, the trust was neither declared to the tax and election authorities during his stint as finance minister nor as prime minister.
Speaking through his attorney in New York, Aziz said that he didn’t need to declare the trust in Pakistan as he was a settlor.
When asked if his wife or children declared the trust, he responded that they didn’t have to declare because they were beneficiaries, not the beneficial owners.
Ayaz Khan Niazi
Ayaz Khan Niazi was connected to four offshore holdings in British Virgin Islands including one trust Andalusian Discretionary Trust.
Remaining three were set up as companies: Andalusian Establishment Limited, Andalusian Enterprises Limited and Andalusian Holdings Limited.
The firms were established back in 2010 when Ayaz was chairman National Insurance Corporation Limited.
His brothers: Hussain Khan Niazi and Muhammad Ali Khan Niazi acted as the beneficial owners of these investments whereas Ayaz together with his father Abdul Razaq Khan and mother Fauzia Razzaq were the directors.
But like Panama papers, Paradise Papers also highlighted the tycoons who stashed money in tax havens, some of whom are mentioned below.
A prominent name in hoteling and oil industry, Hashwani owns one company in Barbodas and Cayman Islands each.
They are: Bowenergy Resources (Pakistan) SRL and Ocean Pakistan Ltd.
The documents show that the companies were used for securing hefty loans from Standard Chartered situated in yet another offshore jurisdiction, Mauritius, as well as its branch in London.
The above two companies are in addition to a couple of other offshore holdings revealed in Panama Papers: North Atlantic Services Limited and Rushlake Hotels (USA) Inc., registered in British Virgin Islands.
Responding to a query, Hashwani responded that he had answered in detail last year when companies were identified in Panama Papers and there was nothing to add in case of the two newly discovered companies.
‘As for as loans from Standard Chartered from its Mauritius branch is concerned, it was a business loan and the charge was registered in the favor of the bank with the SECP hence nothing hidden’ he said.
Mian Muhammad Mansha
Chairman of Nishat Group, Mansha is associated with six offshore companies.
Four of them are in British Virgin Islands: Mallen Securities Ltd, Maple Leaf Investments Ltd, Lyle Trading Ltd and Dolin International Limited while remaining two are in Mauritius: Croft Limited and Best Eagles Holdings Inc.
An account in Swiss bank has also been found connected with these companies which dates back to 1994. The said account was in existence till 2007.
Clarifying his position, Mian Mansha said he had to relocate to the United States in mid-1990s due to political unrest in Pakistan and so the bank accounts were meant to meet day to day living in that period.
‘Finally, almost a decade ago these accounts were liquidated and amounts repatriated to Pakistan through official channels and have been duly recorded in tax returns’ he responded to The News.
Alauddin J. Feerasta
Feerasta serves as the current chairman of Soneri Bank and is the owner of Rangeworth Limited, a company registered in British Virgin Island, having an account in a Swiss bank.
Nooruddin Feerasta, his nephew and chairman of Rupali Polyester Limited, also has a company set up in British Virgins Island with an account in Swiss Bank.
Both of the Feerasta family members did not respond to the query regarding their financial matters.
Obaid Altaf Khanani
The 30-years-old Khanani who pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2016 before a US court also used to have an account in Swiss bank that he jointly had with his mother.
Let it be known that Obaid’s father Altaf Khanani was arrested by U.S. authorities in September 2015 and accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of laundering billions of dollars for the Taliban and other groups.
Dawood Group Chairman Hussain Dawood has been identified in connection with a company registered in the Isle of Man, Hercules Enterprises Limited along with two accounts in Swiss and French banks.
He was conferred the award “Ufficiale Ordine Al merito della Repubblica Italiana” by the Republic of Italy.
Hussain Dawood holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA, and is a graduate in Metallurgy from Sheffield University, UK.
A Mauritius-based offshore company, Balyasny SI Limited purchased shares of Pace Pakistan that is owned by Taseer family.
The same firm invested in local English daily newspaper and is wholly owned subsidiary of the Shakti Master Fund L.P., a Cayman Islands exempted limited partnership.
The Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan in 2011 inquired about the beneficial ownership of the shares held by Balyasny which responded that the shares are beneficially owned by the company (Balyasny).
When the son of late Salman Taseer, Shehreyar Taseer was aasked about his comment, he responded that it was a corporate arrangement.
Prince Karim Aga Khan
The name of spiritual leader of Ismaeli community, Prince Karim Aga Khan, appeared in paradise papers for two reasons. He owns an offshore company in the Isles of Man: Bravo Romeo. The company, according to Appleby record, was used for “yacht vessel ownership.”
The company is considered high risk by Appleby as they were not able to carry out due diligence. The Appleby also works for the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development S.A. which is a subsidiary of Aga Khan Development Network, the world’s biggest private development agency.
The Islamabad-based businessman who was among three winners of DTH (direct-to-home), owns three companies in British Virgin Islands and two accounts in HSBC (Bermuda) and Bank of Bermuda.
Although the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has repeatedly asserted that settign up offshore company was not illegal, but none of the companies owned by Zaheeruddin were declared in business profile when deposited business details with Pemra for DTH bid.
Although Panama papers dented the credibility of global leaders including the premeir of Iceland and British PM David Cameron, even then the paradise papers appeared to have put serious questions for international figures of much high stature including the Queen Elizabeth II of England and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Panama Papers-style investigation has revealed names of 127 politicians and public officials (14 current or former country leaders included) from more than 47 countries in the 13.4 documents obtained from two companies working in Singapore and Bermuda.