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Jahangir Tareen to produce trail of 4.6 million pounds which he transmitted abroad: SC

25 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary-General Jahangir Tareen to produce the trail of 4.6 million pounds which he transmitted abroad to spend on the construction of his 12-acre residence in London.

A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab, was hearing a petition filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbassi seeking disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Secretary-General Jahangir Tareen for non-disclosure of their assets, ownership of offshore companies, and PTI being a foreign-funded party.

Resuming his arguments, Sikandar Bashir Mohmand, counsel for Jahangir Tareen, submitted that his client purchased a piece of land measuring 12 acres on the outskirts of London and constructed a house for his children, for which he transferred 4.6 million pounds. He said the property was purchased for 2.1 million pounds, while 2.5 million pounds were spent on construction of the house.

He contended that this amount was legally transferred to London in 2011, adding that Tareen earned this money from his lawful business. He said since the amount was transferred to London in the name of a ‘trust’, which is exempt from taxes, thus it did not constitute an asset and hence not declared in the income tax returns and the nomination papers.

“You have very rightly admitted that your client did not disclose this property in his nomination papers,” Justice Fasial Arab told the counsel. The chief justice then noted that the court has to understand and differentiate between the nature and legality of a ‘trust’ and an ‘offshore company’.

To a court query that who was the trustee of Shiny View Limited (SVL), an offshore company, the counsel stated that the EFG Corporate Bank was its trustee. The chief justice asked the counsel to explain how the money was transferred, as the real purpose of these proceedings was to judge the honesty of a public office holder.

The counsel contended that his client had transferred the money through a banking channel, adding that the money was earned legally from the business.

He said the property belonged to an offshore company SVL, which was now owned by a trust. He said now his client was not the legal owner of this property and the trust was owned by his children.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial noted that it was beyond his comprehension that Tareen formed a trust for his children, but does not have faith in them to run it, adding that it was a general practice that people send illegal money abroad to purchase property in the name of a trust.

When the chief justice asked the counsel to help him understand the process of purchasing a property abroad, the counsel stated that a trust is formed first and then a company is formed under it to purchase the property.

To a court query, Mohmand stated that a plot worth over two million pounds was purchased through an offshore company, which was registered on April 27, 2011, and later the plot was mortgaged to construct the house.

When the court asked the counsel to produce the ‘trust deed’ of the property, he contended that the trust deed was a secret document thus could not be shared.

To a court query that whether the tax authorities had access to all of the amount as it was transferred abroad, Mohmand stated that a foreign currency account was fully protected under the law. “You had told us initially that all details of the case will be shared,” the chief justice noted, adding, “You have to satisfy the court that your client has no control of the London property now.”

He stated that he will provide the court the trust deed as well as tax returns of Tareen’s children, however these documents should not be made public being the private documents.

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