Malik Riaz agrees to hand over assets worth £190m to UK crime agency | Pakistan Today

Malik Riaz agrees to hand over assets worth £190m to UK crime agency

–Realtor says ‘sold our legal & declared property in UK to pay £190M to Supreme Court against Bahria Town Karachi’

Pakistani business tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain has agreed to hand over cash and assets worth £190 million to the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom (UK).

NCA in a tweet disclosed the news about a settlement with a Pakistani businessman. The tweet said, “The NCA has agreed a £190m settlement with a family that owns large property developments in Pakistan and elsewhere after a frozen funds investigation”.

The NCA has accepted a settlement offer in region of £190m which includes a UK property, 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH, valued at approximately £50 million and all of the funds in the frozen accounts.

The agency also said that agreement had been reached with Hussain to hand over the cash and ownership of the exclusive address, which overlooks Hyde Park, adding that the assets will be given to the government of Pakistan.

In August 2019 eight account freezing orders were secured at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in connection with funds totalling around £120m.

These orders followed an earlier freezing order secured in December 2018 linked to the same investigation for £20m. All of the account freezing orders relate to money held in UK bank accounts.

Earlier this year in March, the Supreme Court of Pakistan accepted an offer of Bahria Town (Pvt) Ltd – owned by Malik Riaz – to settle cases pertaining to its Malir or Karachi Superhighway project in lieu of payment of Rs460 billion.

The deal was struck when the counsel representing the developer agreed to enhance their offer to Rs460bn from the earlier Rs450bn.

“The offer is accepted,” Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had declared after a brief hearing about implementation of the court’s judgement of May 4, 2018 in which it was held that grant of land to the Malir Development Authority (MDA) by the Sindh government, its exchange with the land of private land developers (Bahria Town) and anything done under provisions of the Colonisation of Government Land Act 1912 by the provincial government was illegal and of no legal existence.

The acceptance of the offer by the apex court restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from filing references against the directors and officials of Bahria Town. However, in case of default in payment of the settlement amount during the period agreed to under the deal (which has been reduced to seven years from eight), NAB will be free to file corruption references against the developer, but after prior permission of the court.

Malik Riaz Hussain is one of Pakistan’s richest and most powerful businessmen, a billionaire who is also well known for working on upmarket gated housing communities and his charitable activities. Over the last year he has been fighting court action over business deals in Pakistan, but denies any wrongdoing.

“Some habituals are twisting the NCA report 180 degrees to throw mud at me. I sold our legal & declared property in UK to pay £190M to Supreme Court Pakistan against Bahria Town
Karachi,” he tweeted.

“NCA press release says the settlement is a civil matter and does not represent a finding of guilt. I am a proud Pakistan and I will remain until I breath my last,” he added.

With the assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Hussain’s lawyers would have been mindful of recent so-called McMafia orders, officially known as Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs).

Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) secured nine freezing orders covering £140 million in funds in UK bank accounts, on the grounds that the cash may be the proceeds of crime.

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