ISLAMABAD / LONDON: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has paid 28.7 million to a British firm Broadsheet after losing a case in the London High Court.
The British High Court has issued orders on behalf of Broadsheet, in a case against the Government of Pakistan and the NAB, against the attachment of four flats of Avenfield Apartments owned by the Sharif family.
Broadsheet had requested attachment of 4 apartments in the petition while the lawyers of Sharif family welcomed the court decision. Former President Pervez Musharraf had hired Broadsheet in 1999 to trace the properties of Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto and others. The agreement expired in 2003.
Where the story begins!
Broadsheet LLC is a British company which has threatened to confiscate the equipment and assets of the Pakistani cricket team that went to England to play cricket. The company claims that it already has court orders in this regard.
The company has said this in the context of an old legal dispute with the government of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). What is this legal dispute?
Under General Pervez Musharraf in 2000, the NAB hired Broadsheet LLC to identify and investigate the overseas assets of about 200 Pakistani politicians, government officials and their families. These Pakistani figures included PPP leader and Benazir Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The company had to do this at its own expense and in return it would receive 20% of the money recovered from the wanted persons as compensation. But in 2003, the NAB unilaterally terminated the agreement.
The International Court of Arbitration has ordered Pakistan to pay 21 million in damages to the company.
In 2008, the NAB reached an agreement with a man named Jerry James that the contract with Broadsheet LLC would no longer be valid. Jerry James allegedly owned Broadsheet LLC. As a result of this agreement, the NAB paid him 5 million. He was one of the early owners of Broadsheet LLC, but later formed another company of the same name in the United States. He died in 2011.
Meanwhile, Broadsheet LLC filed a lawsuit against the NAB in an international arbitration tribunal.
In August 2016, the court ruled in favor of Broadsheet LLC, saying that Jerry James had no authority to enter into a contract with the company.
In July 2018, the International Arbitration Court heard arguments from the parties for four days on behalf of the NAB in the office of the law firm Allen & Overy, which is fighting the case. In December 2018, the court ruled in favor of the company, ordering the Pakistani government to pay 21 million in damages.
The decision also said that Pakistan would have to pay more than $5,000 a day in interest on the amount owed to the company.
Broadsheet LLC also wants to seize the Pakistan High Commission building in London.
Law firm Allen & Overy received 13.5 million in two installments from the Pakistani government to fight the case. So far, the Pakistani government has spent about three billion rupees to pursue the case.
Following the sentencing of Nawaz Sharif in the Panama case in 2017, Broadsheet LLC also demanded that the Government of Pakistan pay 20% of the amount recovered from him under its agreement with the NAB.
A letter written by the company to the Pakistani government in July 2020 stated that the Pakistan cricket team was in fact owned by the government of Pakistan, so the money and assets of the team would be confiscated as the company has a legal right.
The company has warned that if the government of Pakistan does not respond to its letter, it will seize all the assets of the Pakistan cricket team.
Other Pakistani assets that Broadsheet LLC wants to seize include the Pakistan High Commission building in London, the High Commissioner’s house in London and PIA’s Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
PIA’s Roosevelt Hotel in New York was also included in the seizure program.
It may be recalled that the London Conciliation Court imposed a fine of 20 million against the NAB in 2018 and added 9 million in interest in two years for non-payment of the fine. However, the conciliation court had ordered payment of 29 million by December 30th.
The account of Pakistan High Commission was frozen yesterday due to non-payment of money by NAB.
The NAB is not the loser in this case, but the withdrawal of the case has resulted in this fine and in this amount, there is also the amount which is included as interest.
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