Hussain and Hasan Nawaz Sharif, and Mariam Safdar – the sons and daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – set up at least four offshore companies in British Virgin Islands (BVI), said a report through Panama Papers leak reveals elite’s tax havens.
These companies owned at least six upmarket properties overlooking London’s Hyde Park. The Indian Express reported that Russian president Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are among those whose assets feature in a vast expose of tax havens published Sunday after a year-long investigation into 11.5 million leaked documents.
A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax. The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing. The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including the Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, who had an undeclared interest linked to his wife’s wealth and is now facing calls for his resignation.
The assets of around 140 political figures – including 12 current of former heads of states – are mentioned in the revelations, according to the probe by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The investigation yielded 11.5 million documents from around 214,000 offshore entities, the ICIJ said on its website. The leaked data from 1975 to the end of last year provides what the ICIJ described as a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world.
The Sharif family bought six lavish properties overlooking London’s Hyde Park through these companies. According to the documents, the subsequent enquiries reveal that the Sharif family mortgaged four of these properties to the Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA for a loan of GBP 7 million and the Bank of Scotland part financed the purchase of two other apartments.
– Nawaz denies ownership of property –
Earlier, while the media had connected some of these BVI companies and London properties to the Sharif family, Nawaz Sharif has denied ownership of any such property. Hussain and Hasan Nawaz Sharif, and Mariam Safdar, did not respond to queries emailed to them by The Indian Express.
Nescol Limited and Nielson Holdings Limited were incorporated in BVI in 1993 and 1994, respectively, and were held by one bearer share each. In February 2006, Mariam Safdar signed a resolution of Nescol Limited as the “sole (bearer) shareholder”. MF was appointed as the registered agent through Minerva Trust which described Mariam Safdar as the beneficial owner of both companies.