- Zardari-led govt approached British authorities through MLA to probe money laundering charges against Hassan and Hussain Nawaz’s Chaudhry Sugar Mills
- Investigation was closed by SECP when PML-N won election and formed govt in 2013
ISLAMABAD: In a bid to avenge the role of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif in the restoration of judiciary, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government had initiated a money laundering investigation against Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain through Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) with British authorities.
The revelation goes against the successive claims made by PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari about not moving against the Sharifs despite the bitterness created between him and Nawaz following the long march for judges’ restoration.
Exclusive documents available with Pakistan Today, and sources in the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) suggest that the then SECP chairman Muhammad Ali had directed the officers concerned of the enforcement department in July 2011 to initiate a probe against the former first family.
According to details, documents of certain foreign companies, including Coomber group and Q Holdings Limited, were handed over to the officers concerned of the SECP with a direction to probe money laundering through Chaudhry Sugar Mills allegedly by Nawaz Sharif’s sons.
Documents revealed that a letter sent to the United Kingdom Central Authority (UKCA), also copied to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), seeking financial details about companies linked to Hassan and Hussain Nawaz revealed some instances of money laundering.
Subsequently, the SECP also issued a letter to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills requiring information relating to compliance with employee benefits, other receivables, sale states exports, distribution of cost and administrative expenses, income, the increase in profit from PLS account, and disclosure of information under IFRS 7 FSA among others.
The FSA responded by denying any role in the matter, saying that the case was related to the UKCA. It added that the central authority was currently reviewing the case and will respond accordingly.
When contacted, the UKCA responded after a lapse of almost a year and asked the SECP about the legal basis for obtaining the MLA in connection with the proceedings. The authority asked if an investigation had been ordered into the matter and sought confirmation as to whether an FIR [First Information Report] had been lodged with relevant authorities.
The authority also sought details of the offences made by the company under Pakistan laws and the purpose for which the information was required from UKCA. It further asked for a summary of offences committed by Chaudhry Sugar Mills management which was being investigated by authorities in Pakistan.
“In relation to the two specific transactions made by the company (for which the SECP had sought information against), please provide full details of the dates of the transactions, the bank accounts concerned and the information required,” the UKCA letter had said.
Enquiring about the relevance of the requested information to the offences, the letter also asked the purpose for which the requested information was to be used. It added that without that information, the authority would not be able to provide the requisite information and that the matter could also be pursued through Interpol.
The UKCA further informed that the UK did not maintain any central registers of bank accounts or other assets, thus denying the possibility of providing a complete list of assets held by any company or individual.
According to reports, the matter then went into a limbo when the PPP’s term ended and a caretaker government took over. Later, the investigation was closed by SECP when PML-N won the election and formed a government in 2013.
Subsequently, the SECP informed the UKCA that its assistance in the probe was not required anymore.
When asked to the PPP Secretary General Farhatullah Babar to comment whether or not the SECP had moved the UK for a probe into money laundering of Hassan Nawaz and others under the then PPP govt instructions or the SECP had moved independently, Babar said, “If I recall correctly, the matter had been dealt with in accordance with the law.”
Additional reporting by Ghulam Abbas