Panama Papers: Nawaz Sharif’s children’s offshore firms own 6 homes in London

The documents showed that two of the offshore firms linked to the Sharifs - Nescol Ltd and Nielson Holdings Ltd — were incorporated in the BVI in 1993 and 1994, respectively, and were held by one bearer share each.

Written by Jay Mazoomdaar | New Delhi | Published:July 29, 2017 4:43 am
Nawaz Sharif, Panama graft case, Nawaz Sharif corruption, Maryam Nawaz Sharif Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (File Photo)

THE PANAMA Papers investigation, which led to the resignation of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday, had revealed over 15 months ago that three out of four offshore companies set up by his children in the British Virgin Islands owned at least six upscale properties overlooking London’s Hyde Park. On April 4, 2016, The Indian Express reported these findings as a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which investigated thousands of documents maintained by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca (MF) linking political leaders, businessmen and celebrities to offshore firms that operated under the tax radar.

While Nawaz Sharif was not named in the MF records, documents revealed that his children — daughter Maryam Safdar, and sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz Sharif — mortgaged four of the properties in London to Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA for a loan of GBP 7 million, and that the Bank of Scotland part-financed the purchase of two other apartments.

The documents showed that two of the offshore firms linked to the Sharifs – Nescol Ltd and Nielson Holdings Ltd — were incorporated in the BVI in 1993 and 1994, respectively, and were held by one bearer share each. In February 2006, they showed, Maryam signed a resolution of Nescol Ltd as the “sole (bearer) shareholder”. MF was appointed as the registered agent through Minerva Trust, which described Maryam as the beneficial owner of both companies.

In August 2008, BVI law firm Farara Kerins issued two legal opinions and identified “leasehold properties known as 17. and 17A Avenfield House, 117 to 128 Park Lane, London, W1K 7AH and car parking space 9 and box room 6. registered. with Title Numbers NGL342976 and NGL342977 respectively” as Nescol’s property. The firm also identified two titles of 16 and 16A Avenfield House as Nielson’s property.

In October 2008, Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA sanctioned a “cross collateralised” loan of up to GBP 7 million ? GBP 3.5 million to Coomber Group Inc (BVI) and GBP 1.75 million each to Nescol and Nielson ? against the four Avenfield House titles. Earlier, in June 2007, Sharif’s elder son Hussain and Maryam had signed the mortgage agreement for Coomber Group Inc, records showed. Records also showed that a London-based law firm, Freeman Box, represented the Sharifs in England for three MF-linked companies owned by them.

In 2012, following queries from the BVI’s Financial Investigation Agency (FIA), MF invoked the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice (2008) to question Minerva for information about Nescol and Nielson. In response, MF records showed, Minerva Trust & Corporate Services Ltd revealed that both companies “owned a UK proper each” ?16 and 17 Avenfield House ? and were “owned by the same beneficial owner” Maryam Safdar.

MF passed on the details to FIA and decided not to provide nominee (proxy) directors or shareholders for Maryam’s companies. Maryam was the owner of Nescoll and Nielsen at least until July 2014 when the companies changed their law firm and agent, according to the records. Hassan, Nawaz Sharif’s younger son, also owned at least one company in the BVI: Hangon Properties Holding Ltd, which was incorporated in February 2007 with an authorised capital of $ 50,000.

In June 2007, it issued 10 shares to Cascon Holdings Establishment Limited (Liberia). The next month, the shares were transferred to Hassan for GBP 5.5 million. Records also showed that the Bank of Scotland sanctioned mortgage loan of an unknown amount to Hangon “to assist in the purchase of the property (Flat Nos 3 and 4 ) at 1 Hyde Park Place, London”. Asked to take a call on Hassan as a client by MF’s compliance department in October 2007, Jurgen Mossack, the co-owner of MF, wrote: “Si, correcto. NO aceptar el cliente en forma directa, por mi parte (Yes, correct. As far as I’m concerned, DON’T accept the client directly).”

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  1. P
    Paddy Singh
    Jul 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    The Pakistan SC has forgotten Be r's property portfolio in London, Paris and Dubai. All with Mr105's money. Now Bilawal owns them.
    Reply
  2. D
    Damodar Biswal
    Jul 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm
    Should the same not happen to our Bhadras n Lalus?
    Reply
  3. O
    Omar Sadiq
    Jul 29, 2017 at 11:54 am
    Understand this......Sharif family would give tenders on projects and (as an example) the work which could be done in $10 millions, the Sharifs would give the project to companies for $100-$200 millions. The kick backs would be paid to his sons and daughters via their off shore companies. Thus, a lot of corruption was indeed done and yet as per their claim that no proof of corruption was presented. Apparently, neither the Supreme Court judges nor the JIT team nor the PTI party were stupid enough to fall for their gimmicks this time around.
    Reply
  4. S
    sombu
    Jul 29, 2017 at 11:53 am
    Chidambaram family, Robert Vadera, Solisorabjee, Harishsalve, Marans, Mallayas All have connection with PANAMA.... Jootley Saved them where as Pakistan JUdiciary Rips apart PM of country...Mr MODI, AMIT SHAH LEARN RAJ NITI FROM THEM
    Reply
  5. O
    Omar Sadiq
    Jul 29, 2017 at 11:51 am
    In 1993 and 1994, the sons of this chor Nawaz were 15 16 years old and apparently were buying properties worth 60-70 crores each in UK. Those who can understand the irony in this one statement can understand the whole scenario of where the looting was and who conducted it.
    Reply
  6. G
    ginololoya
    Jul 29, 2017 at 9:36 am
    Why? Why would Sharif risk his PM ship to these ridiculous doings of his children. Why wouldn't he stop them from happening. Begs these questions
    Reply
  7. I
    Indian
    Jul 29, 2017 at 7:44 am
    Similar LOOT STASH by INDIAN POLITICAL FAMILIES too must be existing. Unfortunately, Indian Courts do not deal with INDIAN CORRUPT the way PAK SC has done preferring to protect the INDIAN LOOT STASHERS. ........... FODDER SCAM PUNISHED Mr LALOO enjoying political power through his SONS and perpetrators of LOOT SCAMs like CWG, 2G, COALGATE, TATRA TRUCK GATE, CHOPPERGATE, RAILGATE, DLF-VADRA gate etc NOT being EXPEDITIOUSLY THROWN into JAIL indicate failure of Indian System.
    Reply
  8. j
    jaihind101
    Jul 29, 2017 at 7:35 am
    why just 6????? stupid people has been voting this looter family , just like stupid people of INDIA kept on voting looter con gress and gundi family kept on looting INDIA , GOOD MR NOT SO SHARIF KEEP ON LOOTING YOUR FELLOW COUNTRY MAN THEY DESERVE TO BE LOOTED , MR NOT SO SHARIF PLEASE DO NOT DREAM ABOUT KASHMIR OR ELSE INDIA WILL SEPERATE YOUR SINDH, BALOCHISTAN, FRUNTIER STATE JUST LIKE BANGLE A DESH SO KEEP YOUR LOOT AND GO TO LONDON THEY WILL KEEP YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE LOTS OF LOOTED MONEY IN ENGLAND THEY LIKE LOOTERS LIKE YOU SO THEIR ECONOMY CAN FLOURISH AT THE COST OF NAPAK PAKISTANI
    Reply
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