ISLAMABAD: The trust deed submitted by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen before the Supreme Court regarding the ownership of a 12-acre property in the United Kingdom has established that the PTI leader and his wife, Amina Tareen, are “discretionary lifetime beneficiaries” of the property.
The documents were submitted to the court in relation with the disqualification case filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi against Tareen for owning offshore companies and not declaring assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). A three-member apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, is hearing the case.
The apex court is scheduled to resume the hearing of the case on November 7 (today).
Tareen’s lawyer Sikandar Bashir Mohmand had resisted showing the trust deed to the apex court during earlier proceedings, saying that the document was “private”.
The PTI leader’s £7 million property has remained a secret until now and was never declared before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
According to the documents, Tareen is a “settler” for a trust which runs an offshore company, Shiny View Limited, and owns 12 acres of property in the UK, contradicting his (earlier) version that the property had been gifted to his children.
The trust deed comprising 37 pages also reveals that Tareen and his wife are the trust’s “discretionary lifetime beneficiaries”. According to the documents, Tareen has the power to direct the trustees to transfer the income from the trust fund to anyone or more of the discretionary beneficiaries, including him.
The original trust deed has also nominated HSBC Bank (Pvt) Ltd as the trustee. The trust was created for 150 years in May 2011.
In case of Tareen’s death, his wife, children and grandchildren will be named the discretionary beneficiaries, the document further said.
Under Pakistani laws, if the beneficiary is a resident of Pakistan, then he/she has to declare his/her beneficial interests in whatever capacity it may be.
The trust deed states, “All such directions shall be treated as revocable unless expressed to be irrevocable and shall continue until the settler dies or becomes incapacitated or (where the direction is revocable) the settler revokes the direction personally. Until and subject to and in default of any such directions the trustees may, during the trust period, pay or apply the income of the trust fund to, or for the benefit of, all or any others of them, that are for the time being in existence and in whatever shares, if more than one and in whatever manner generally that the trustees may in their absolute discretion think fit.”
In other words, the trustees, or the bank, during the trust period may pay the whole or part of the capital from the trust fund to all or any of the discretionary beneficiaries at their discretion. It further states that the bank also has the power to grant a pledge or other security, over the trust fund assets to secure any payment obligation from a discretionary lifetime beneficiary, unless the trustees are otherwise satisfied that the transaction was for the direct benefit of the discretionary lifetime beneficiary while also having the power to waive or release any express or implied right of subrogation against the relevant debtor.
Tareen’s lawyer has produced the trust deed before the court but has failed to produce the bank statements by UK banks that were used to buy this property.
It was widely speculated that the PTI secretary general owns assets in the UK through offshore companies, but it is only now that one major secret investment of Tareen’s has been found and the Supreme Court judges have questioned whether he used the offshore company and the trust to “camouflage” something or indulge in any illegal activity.
The PTI leader’s lawyer has insisted that his client had purchased this property through taxed money earned in Pakistan and sent to the UK through legal banking channels, saying that his client spent £4.7 million in 2011 to buy the 12-acre Hyde House property which was bought by Sunny View Limited (SVL), an offshore company now owned by a trust set up by Tareen in May 2011.
The property was visited by Pakistani media two weeks ago and it was noticed that the construction work on the opulent property is still on. Its current estimated value is around £7 million.
However, Tareen’s lawyer is adamant that a total of £4.75 million was spent on the construction of the house but the payment that’s of utmost interest to the Supreme Court is £2.1 million which was paid originally by Tareen to buy the property through Shiny View Limited — under two title numbers HP576984 and HP595045.
Records reveal that £2,525,018 was paid to the builder for the construction of the house in the same year of 2011.
Tareen would have to submit a banking records to prove that he sent this money out of Pakistan into a UK bank account, bank statements of both accounts and outgoing and incoming transactions in these accounts, cross-checked to ensure that each and every penny paid was transferred out of Pakistan was taxed and that it was not laundered, and earned through “halal” means.
Land registry record shows that Title Number HP576984 for address of property Hyde House, Hyde Lane, Ecchinswell, Newbury (RG20 4UN) is owned by Shiny View Limited which incorporated in British Virgin Islands (UK Regn. No 1645470) and its lender is EFG Private Bank Limited.
The price stated to have been paid on May 10, 2011, for the land in this title and in HP595045 was £2,100,000. On July 23, 2015, a charge was made in favour of EFG Private Bank Limited (Co. Regn. No. 02321802) of Leconfield House, Curzon Street, London W1J 5JB.