Trail of hidden wealth of Sharifs #PanamaPapers @icijorg

Trail of hidden wealth of Sharifs #PanamaPapers


The members of ‘House of Sharifs’, who are facing allegations of tax avoidance, flight of capital, money laundering and corruption in the wake of the Panama Papers, claim “we have been billionaires since 1940s”. However, returns filed by them with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), declarations made before Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and court cases speak otherwise. In recent speeches by the Prime Minister, it was averred that his family lost industrial units in the then East Pakistan, besides confiscation of Ittefaq Foundry by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He told the nation that his father in the aftermath of nationalisation of Bhutto tried his luck in the United Arab Emirates where he set up a steel re-rolling mill. It is true that a factory was set up abroad, but Mian Muhammad Sharif returned home within a year or two after its operations. Obviously in such a short time, he could not have earned millions after losing everything to what termed “cruel act” of Bhutto! The reality is that lady luck smiled on the Sharifs after General Zia-ul-Haq returned them Ittefaq Foundry without any payment and his appointment as Finance Minister of Punjab in 1981. Later, he became Chief Minister of Punjab in 1985, served as Caretaker Chief Minister and re-elected for the slot in 1988. In 1990, Nawaz Sharif was elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan-a position he is currently holding for the third time.

In 1981 when Nawaz Sharif was picked up by General Zia as finance minister of Punjab, the family owned only one re-rolling mill. In coming years, the business empire of the family expanded “marvellously”: Ittefaq Sugar Mills (1982), Brothers Steel (1983), Farooq Barkat (Pvt) Ltd (1985), Brothers Textile Mills (1986), Brothers Sugar Mills Ltd (1986), Ittefaq Textile (1987), Ramzan Buksh Textiles (1987) and Khalid Siraj Textile Mills (1988). According to record produced by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Supreme Court of complaints/references pending against Premier and his family members, in the wake of becoming Chief Minister of Punjab in April 1985, Nawaz Sharif under the patronage of General Ghulam Jilani Khan and General Zial-ul-Haq, allegedly made assets beyond means. It was during 1981 to 1989 that the ‘House of Sharif’ received generous loans from banks for “extraordinary expansion”. But strangely, even after all this extraordinary expansion in business, wealth tax returns filed by all members of the ‘House of Sharif’ till 1990 showed net wealth of less than Rs 50 million!!

In 1992, Information Wing of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) released an account of alleged corruption of the Nawaz government in a booklet, The Plunder of Pakistan. A spokesman for the then ‘House of Ittefaq’ said in a counter statement that the group “has obtained loans worth Rs 4.420 billion only from the commercial banks contrary to Salmaan Taseer’s claim of Rs 12 billion”. According to the spokesperson of Ittefaq Group, they had only 14 companies with assets of Rs 6 billion.

The H.U. Beg Committee, set up to investigate the allegations of concentration of wealth, however, ‘identified’ 19 companies in the Group with assets worth Rs 10 billion. The units in Ittefaq as identified by H. U Beg Committee included three listed companies, 12 unlisted public companies and 4 private limited companies. In a press conference of March 2, 1994, Khalid Siraj, a cousin of Nawaz Sharif, claimed that the assets of the seven brothers were worth Rs 21 billion. During the rule of General Zia, the net wealth of the ‘House of Sharif’ increased manifold. At a press conference, held on August 3, 1989, Shahbaz Sharif admitted the assets of the Group at Rs 3.6 billion. However, the report of the Co-operative Scam Tribunal estimated the Group’s assets in 1989 at Rs 6 billion. It is alleged by adversaries of the Sharifs that hidden (untaxed) wealth of billions was siphoned off during Zia’s era, and large part of it was parked outside Pakistan. After passing the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 on becoming Prime Minister on November 1, 1990, it is alleged in a report prepared by Rehman Malik that attempts were made to legalise the hidden wealth by opening fake accounts, details of which are available in Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif and 2 others v Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Interior and 2 others [1995 PCr LJ 1224 Lahore High Court]. This case alleges how the ‘House of Sharif’ in 1992 took refuge under Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, a law aimed at whitening tainted (untaxed and/or illegal) money.

During his first tenure as Prime Minister (November 1, 1990 to July 18, 1993), the business empire of the ‘House of Sharif’ thrived on project loans from foreign banks as well as working capital from the local banks. Foreign currency accounts allegedly fake, were used to whiten untaxed money and secure loans/advances from banks. The following purported facts, reproduced verbatim from Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif and 2 others v Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Interior and 2 others [1995 PCr LJ 1224 Lahore High Court], are worth consideration:

(i) “On 26-8-1992 fake account in the name of one Sulman Zia, resident of Main Bazar, Sahiwal, was opened in Habib Bank Limited, AG. Zurich, Lahore, with an initial deposit of US $168. Fake account in the name of Muhammad Ramzan resident of House No 5, Street No 6 of Sant Nagar (Lahore) was opened in Habib Bank Ltd, AG Zurich, Lahore, with initial deposit of US $300. Subsequently, both of them were issued dollar bearing certificates worth US $750,000 cash by Union Bank Ltd against cash proceeds of Travellers Cheques encashed through American Express, New York.

(ii) A fake account was also opened in the name of Kashif Masood Qazi (Account No 260133-91) in the Bank of America by having transferred the amounts of aforesaid two fake accounts. Another fake Account No 199936-091 in the name of Mrs Nuzhat Gohar Qazi, the wife of Gohar Masood Qazi, resident of Nisbat Road, Lahore was opened in the Bank of America. Ultimately, approximately an amount of US $0.5 million was transferred to the account of Kashif Masood Qazi from the account of Mrs Nuzhat Gohar Qazi.

(iii) The aforesaid accounts were found to be fictitious. The Directors of Messrs Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt) Ltd in collaboration with the bank officials of Habib Bank Limited, AG Zurich, Lahore and Bank of America, Lahore, under the influence of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (former Prime Minister), dishonestly and fraudulently managed to open aforesaid fake accounts/benamis for subsequent creation of loan amount to Rs 60 millions by the Bank of America, Lahore, in favour of the said Company, against the fake account of Kashif Masood Qazi. All these under hand methods were adopted to utilise their black money for securing wrongful gains”.

The counsel for Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt) Ltd did not refute the above transactions but took the plea that “Messrs Hudabiya obtained [a] loan of a few crores of rupees against the accounts opened in the name of Kashif Masood and other mentioned in F.I.R. No 12/94 and Mrs Sikandara Masood Qazi and other in case of F.I.R. No 13/94.” According to the counsel, “this was a simple money transaction between the parties that is to say Messrs Hudabiya, aforesaid account-holders and the bankers voluntarily and with each other’s consent.” He claimed that that there was no question of “committing fraud and cheating in the affairs”. It is a matter of fact that the Qazi family later on clarified that they had nothing to do with the foreign currency accounts opened in Pakistan and that they were cheated-A shoddy track record, The News, April 16, 2016. According to the British newspaper Independent [Pakistan PM ‘made millions in UK’, October 20, 1998]: “….money was laundered through “fictitious bank accounts” and, using family business interests, was siphoned into offshore accounts”.

The Counsel of State took the plea that available facts proved beyond any doubt that fake accounts were opened to whiten black money for securing wrongful gains. The Division Bench of Lahore High Court held as under:

“A citizen of Pakistan has protection of law in case, he opens foreign exchange account having the facility provided by the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, but cannot avail the protection of law with a view to make his black money as white by adopting the process of opening fake accounts, mentioned above. We, therefore, maintain that the prosecution has prima facie case to substantiate the allegations levelled against the accused.”

Later, a larger bench of Lahore High Court in its judgement, authored by Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum, in the Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt) Limited v Federation of Pakistan and 6 others 1998 PTD 34, held as under:

“On consideration of various provisions of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, we have reached the conclusion that so far as foreign currency accounts are concerned, the holders thereof, have complete immunity from inquiry and scrutiny and complete secrecy must be maintained in respect of those accounts which cannot be violated by any agency or functionary. That being so, neither the Income Tax Authorities nor Federal Investigation Agency had any jurisdiction to hold any inquiry in respect of the transactions in the foreign currency accounts nor could the same be made basis of criminal prosecution.”

The larger bench of Lahore High Court adjudicated the issue purely on technical grounds and did not give any verdict on the accusations of money laundering using section 5 of Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, levelled in FIRs. The fact of using foreign currency accounts was not refuted by the counsel for Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt) Ltd. The Court quashed the case ignoring the purported fact that there was sufficient evidence available that account holders were either fake or had no connection with the business affairs of company.

The larger bench of Lahore High Court in Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt) Limited v Federation of Pakistan and 6 others [1998 PTD 34] also ignored that benefit of section 5 of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 could have been taken only by the persons who purportedly opened foreign currency accounts and not by the company and its directors. It was incumbent on the directors under corporate governance not to take benefit of any tainted funds. On the contrary, the company and its directors sought refuge under a special law to hide untaxed and undeclared money.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan clearly laid down in the Ishaq Ahmad Sheikh v The State [2000 SCMR 814] that:

“……the complete secrecy even in section 5(3) [of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992] is not in respect of all “transactions in the foreign currency accounts”; imply that there can be some possible exceptions to the generalised protection and cover. Neither section 5(3) nor section 9 [of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992], therefore, would spell out secrecy where a penal act or omission is involved though even in such regard the initiative, aid and assistance of the relevant Court, as in section 94 of the Criminal Procedure Code, has a direct bearing. In other words the secrecy would be complete and even total except for the limited purpose permitted by such a Court as aforementioned”.

The above judgement of Supreme Court of Pakistan confirms that the directors of Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt) Limited were wrongly absolved by the Lahore High Court under section 5 of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 as they did not open foreign currency accounts in their own names and thus could not claim immunity. It was a clear case of “a penal act or omission” and, therefore, no secrecy could have been claimed as enunciated by the Supreme Court in Ishaq Ahmad Sheikh v The State [2000 SCMR 814].

There is another interesting angle that needs consideration. By availing cover of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, the beneficiaries admitted tax avoidance/evasion and therefore they could not contest the elections as ordained in Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan. According to a Press report, NAB did pass on information to ECP in 2013 about references of money laundering, corruption and loan defaults pending against Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and other family members. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz were allowed to contest elections after they secured stay against proceedings in accountability court. After coming into power, the cases of money laundering and corruption pending against them and other family members were quashed by Justice Anwar Ahmed of NAB Accountability Court on September 18, 2014 observing that even after 14 years, NAB failed to produce any witness. The witnesses (members of the Qazi family) could have been produced by NAB by seeking assistance of authorities of their residence to give the statements how fake accounts were opened in their names. Had it been done, conviction leading to disqualification of Premier and others was possible.

In the light of the above facts, the demand of Opposition, made on May 3, 2016 after two days’ deliberations, for an inquiry under a special law, the Panama Papers (inquiry and Trial) Act 2016, by a Commission to be formed, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan, and comprising two other judges of Supreme Court nominated by him, was obviously not acceptable to the government as evident from the Press conference of Interior Minister and Law Minister on March 4, 2016. The deadlock between the Government and Opposition will ultimately help the corrupt and tax evaders to escape punishment. The right course as suggested in our earlier columns would be accountability of all officeholders in the Parliament. A House Committee of all parties should be formed to consider Terms of References (TORs), suggested by the government, Opposition and Supreme Court Bar Association. It should also investigate why NAB did not file appeal against the judgement dated September 18, 2014 of Accountability Court exonerating the members of the ‘House of Sharif’ from charges of money laundering and corruption. NAB authorities should also be questioned by the Parliament as to why they did not produce Sikandar Masood Qazi, Talat Masood Qazi, Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi before the Accountability Court to testify how their names were used for opening fake foreign currency accounts.

The Parliament should also ask ECP how the Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab were allowed to contest election in 2013 when it received information that the Sharif brothers at that point of time were loan defaulters of Rs 4.9 billion. They borrowed money from nine banks in 1994-95 and did not return the same till 2013 on the plea that NAB confiscated their properties which, according to them, were worth more than the amount of the loans. The question was not that of worth of properties but whether money was due or not at the time of contesting the elections. Law does not permit any loan defaulter (where payment is due for any reason) to contest the election unless payment is made. Admittedly, the Sharif family “paid Rs 5.22 billion by December 2014 under the head of all loans, mark-up, cost of fund and other charges payable by Ittefaq Foundries and a consortium of banks has issued clearance certificates in this regard”, as admitted by Shahbaz Sharif in a Press conference held in Lahore on July 8, 2015 as “a representative of the Sharif family”. This confirmed they could not contest election in 2013 when this amount was due.

The official record, the Panama Papers and judicial pronouncements, reproduced above, call for investigating the opening of fake accounts and their utilisation in business, illegal transfer of money, tax avoidance, political loan write-offs and corrupt practices by all public officeholders and not Nawaz-specific. Once this process is completed and those elected have been dealt with under the law, the other sections of society, especially those who are running the affairs of the state should also be probed. If anybody is proved guilty before the Parliamentary Special Investigative Committee, he/she should be proceeded against under Articles 62 and/or 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan as well as proceedings under National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999. The NAB Ordinance was made effective from 1st January 1985. It is pertinent to mention that Nawaz Sharif took oath as Chief Minister of Punjab on April 9, 1985!

(The writers, lawyers and partners in HUZAIMA, IKRAM & IJAZ, are members of Adjunct Faculty of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The view expressed by them i this article are not necessarily those of the newspaper)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2016

6 May, 2016 11:34

Inline image 1






He said that had he sent the inquiry of Panama Leaks to FIA it was going to be said that the government will influence it. He said that he went one step forward and said Imran Khan should suggest the name of FIA officer and he will mark the inquiry to him. He said that if an institution will not hold the inquiry unanimously it will become controversial and will be criticized. He said that Panama Leaks clearly says that its divulgences are only accusations it is not clear as yet that the properties are bought with legal money or illegal.

He said that the opposition first demanded that FIA should hold the inquiry then the parliament and lastly the SC and the government accepted all of their demands. He said that the opposition is hesitant on the inquiry of the Panama Leaks and that is causing the delay in the proceedings. He said that the government is ready to sit down with opposition to settle the issue of Panama Leaks.

He said that Sharif Family needs a forum to give the details of accusations of Panama Leaks and they will do so infront of SC commission.

He said that no personal comments should be passed there is no gap between the civil and military relationship. He said that the meetings between PM and army chief are not going a frequently as before because of the busy schedule of both personalities it will be regularized soon.

He said that the corruption and the terror financing are two different things they can not be interlinked. He said that the federal government has authorized the military to carry on intelligence based operations anywhere in the country. He said that the military is doing intelligence based operations in the country in collaboration with rangers and police. He said that about 14000 intelligence based operation have been conducted in the country in last two years.

He said that the provincial government can order the inquiry to probe the killing of MQM worker it is not the jurisdiction of the federal government. He said that army chief has ordered the inquiry against the rangers. He said that he regularly takes the report from the rangers and there is a huge difference between the point of view of rangers and MQM on missing persons. Her said that the Karachi operation was going smoothly but some problems are coming up in last two or three months.

He said that the operation Zarb-e-Azb is almost completed but it will require some time to wrap the thing up.

He said that Donald Trump is accusing Pakistan but our media is vibrant to response him.

He said that Pakistan is playing its positive role in the region but whoever makes the mistake Pakistan pays the price. He said that Pakistan is doing its best to restore the peace in Afghanistan.

He said that there were thirty three very serious cases against Molana Abdul Aziz in the previous governments. He said that Molana Abdul Aziz has been set innocent in twenty three out of the thirty three cases. He said that everyone asks the question to PML-n government about Molana Abdul Aziz why no one question the previous governments. He said that there are no weapons and no militancy in Lal Masjid right now as compare to the past. He said that the Madrassas have been established on stat land previous governments have done nothing to stop them.

He said that the national action plan is carried out under the authority of the interior ministry and they are the one monitoring its proceedings.

6 May, 2016 09:20



پاناما پیپرز کی ناکوائری میں ایف آئی اے کے بھیجتا تو کہا جاتا کہ یہ حکومتی اثر کے تحت ہو گی۔ آج کے واحد مہمان چوہدری نثار احمد کی ندیم ملک لائیو میں گفتگو

میں ایک قدم آگے بڑھا اور کہا کہ عمران خان ایف آئی اے کے کسی آفیسر کا نام بتایں میں پاناما پیپرز کی انکوائری اس کے حوالے کر دوں گا۔

جب تک کوئی ادارہ اتفاق راے سے انکوائری نہیں کرے گا اس میں کیڑے نکالے جایں گے اسے متنازع بنایا جائے گا۔

پاناما لیکس نے صاف طور پر کہا ہے کہ اس کی تفصیلات الزام ہیں ابھی یہ نہیں پتہ کہ جائیدادیں قانونی پیسے سے بنائی گئیں یا غیر قانونی پیسے سے۔

اپوزیشن نے پہلے کہا کہ ایف آئی اے پاناما لیکس کی انکوائری کرے پھر کہا پارلیمنٹ کرے اور پھر کہا سپریم کورٹ کرے ہم نے وہ سب کر دیا۔

اپوزیشن پاناما پیپرز کی انکوائری پر لیت و لعل سے کام لے رہی ہے اور اس کی وجہ سا معاملہ میں تاخیر ہو رہی ہے۔

ہم اپوزیشن کے ساتھ مل بیٹھ کو پاناما پیپرز کے مسئلے کا حل کی طرف جانے کے لئیے تیار ہیں۔

پاناما پیپرز کی تفصیلات بتانے کے لئیے شریف فیملی کو کوئی فورم چاہئیے اور سپریم کورٹ کے سامنے وہ سارے حقائق رکھیں گے۔

اپنی طرف سے کوئی تبصرہ نہیں کرنا چاہئیے سول اور ملٹری لیڈرشپ میں کوئی خلیج نہیں ہے۔

جنرل راحیل اور نواز شریف کی مصروفیات کی وجہ سے ملاقاتوں کا سلسلہ کچھ کم ہوا ہے جو پھر باقاعدہ ہو جائے گا۔

کرپشن اور ٹیرر فنانسنگ دو مختلف باتیں ہیں ان کو ایک دوسرے کے ساتھ نہیں جوڑا جا سکتا۔

وفاقی حکومت نے نیشنل ایکشن پلان کے تحت فوج کو ملک میں کہیں بھی سکیورٹی آپریشن کرنے کے اختیارات دئیے ہوئے ہیں۔

فوج پولیس اور رینجرز کے ساتھ مل کر کہیں بھی انٹیلی جنس کی بنیاد پر آپریشن کر سکتی ہے پچھلے دو سالوں میں چودہ ہزار آپریشن کئیے گئے ہیں۔

اایم کیو ایم کے کارکن کی ہلاکت پر صوبائی حکومت انکوائری کا حکم دے سکتی ہے وفاقی حکومت یہ کام نہیں کر سکتی۔

آرمی چیف نے رینجرز کے خلاف تحقیقات کرنے کا حکم دیا ہے۔

میں رینجرز سے باقاعدہ رپورٹ لیتا ہوں مسنگ پرسنز پر ان کے اور ایم کیو ایم کے نقطہ نظر میں بہت زیادہ تضاد ہے۔

کراچی آپریشن بہت اچھی طرح سے چل رہا ہتھا لیکن پچھلے دو تین ماہ میں کچھ مسائل پیدا ہوئے ہیں۔

آپریشن ضرب عضب تقریباْ مکمل ہو چکا ہے لیکن اسے سمیٹنے میں ابھی وقت لگے گا۔

ڈونل ٹرمپ پاکستان پر الزامات لگا رہے ہیں لیکن اس کے جواب میں ہمارا میڈیا متحرک ہے۔

پاکستان خطے میں اپنا مثبت کردار ادا کر رہا ہے لیکن ہوتا یہ ہے کہ غلطی کوئی بھی کرے خمیازہ پاکستان کو بھگتنا پڑتا ہے۔

پاکستان افغانستان میں امن کے لئیے اپنمی پوری کوشش کر رہا ہے۔

مولانا عبدالعزیز کے خلاف پچھلی حکومتوں میں تینتیس بہت ہی سنجیدہ قسم کے مقدمات تھے جن میں سے تئیس میں وہ بری ہو چکے ہیں۔

ہر کوئی مولانا عبدالعزیز کے متعلق ہم سے سوال کرتا ہے پچھلی حکومتوں سے کیوں نہیں پوچھتے۔

لال مسجد میں اس وقت ماضی کے سے حالات نہیں ہیں نہ وہاں اسلحہ ہے اور نہ عسکریت ہے۔

سرکاری زمینوں پر مدارس بنے ہوئے ہیں پچھلی حکومتوں نے انہیں بننے سے نہیں روکا۔

نیشنل ایکشن پلان وزارت داخلہ کے تحت چل رہا ہے اور وہی اس کے معاملات کو دیکھتی ہے۔

5 May, 2016 11:20





SHEIKH RASHEED AHMED OF AML said that nothing is clear as yet he will meet Khursheed Shah tomorrow and will consider the offer of the government of talks. He said that eight opposition parties have constituted TOR’s with their best effort. He said that opposition parties are united on one point agenda of Panama Leaks but whoever is responsible for corruption should be punished. He said that if people from opposition parties are involved in corruption there should be a legal action against them.

QAMAR ZAMAN KAIRA OF PPPP said that PPPP is saying from day one that legislation should be done against corruption. He said that the initiative should be taken from Panama Papers and then everyone involved in corruption should be questioned. He said that the start should be taken from Panama Papers because the children of PM have confessed that they own offshore companies abroad. He said that if the sons and daughter of PM prove that the money for offshore companies was legitimate and was sent through legal channel there will be no objection left. He said that opposition parties are not demanding that investigation commission should give the punishment. He said that opposition parties are demanding that if the charge is established concerned institutions should take the action. He said that the investigating commission should punish only those who are unwilling to cooperate with the commission. He said that opposition parties have conveyed to the government through their TOR’s that what their questions are and how the investigating commission should proceed.

He said that the PM is considered a roll model for the whole nation if he is accused he should clarify his position at first. He said that the sons of PM have confessed that they are the owners of the offshore companies PM should explain the channel of the money sent abroad. He said that opposition parties have asked the question in their TOR’s whether Nawaz Sharif was a state guest of Saudi Arabia during his exile there. He said that if the gifts he received during his exile as state guest then they belong to the state of Pakistan.

TALAL CH OF PML-N said that the government has not made investigating commission a question of ego instead is ready for talks with opposition parties. He said that PTI sees Maryam Nawaz as a problem because she is going to lead PML-N in the future. He said that the media cell of PML-N is lead by any senior minister present in the PM house at the time. He said that the opposition parties are not interested in the investigation of Panama Papers they are preparing for the elections in 2018. He said that what opposition parties have presented that is not the terms of reference but the term of revenge against Nawaz Sharif.

KHAWAR GHUMAN JORNALIST said that he was never as disappointed from the politician fraternity as he is now after the divulgences of Panama Papers. He said that politicians are using such a obscene language against each other. He said that the government is worries because the children of PM have confessed that they are the owners of the offshore companies. He said that Maryam Nawaz was being germinated in politics Panama Leaks have damaged her reputation a lot. He said that if PML-N will not handle the issue of Panama Leaks wisely it is going to become a big challenge for them in the future. He said that PML-N is needed to take bold steps on the issue of Panama Leaks. He said that Nawaz Sharif should have ordered the investigations of Panama Leaks right away.

Nordea helped arms dealer with letterbox

Nordea helped arms dealer with letterbox

Loftur Johannesson pointed out by several sources to have smuggled weapons to armed groups.Loftur Johannesson pointed out by several sources to have smuggled weapons to armed groups.

Nordea helped arms dealer with letterbox

Mission examination can reveal that one of the customers that Nordea helps with letterbox is an alleged arms smugglers, who have been able to make armed conflict into a business idea.

Article text continues further down Jump to the article text


Full programs


Section 14

aired: May 4

Available: more than 30 days left

Nordea’s customers became known by the nickname “The Icelander” in the world of intelligence and arms which he should have earned serious money in the 1970s and 80s.He’s really Loftur Johannesson, and singled out by several sources that during the Cold War have bought large quantities of weapons of corrupt rulers in the Eastern Bloc which he, on behalf of the CIA smuggled to armed groups sometimes including Afghanistan and Somalia.

– “The Icelander” was deeply involved in arms smuggling in covert operations on behalf of the CIA, said Ken Silverstein, author of “Private Warrior” which charts a series of Cold War weapons smugglers, among them Loftur Johannesson.

“The smuggling gave millions of dollars”

Ken Silverstein, renowned journalist and writer in the US, has interviewed several of Loftur John’s employees who stayed in with weapons smuggling. Ken Silverstein has also taken note of classified documents that describe some of the weapons deliveries Loftur Johannesson done.

– There is no doubt that Johannesson were weapons smugglers. And it was hugely profitable, smuggling gave millions of dollars for each successful operation. The US intelligence paid very well for that sort of work Loftur Johannesson performed, said Ken Silverstein.

According to the articles, including the Sunday Times, collaborated Loftur Johannesson also with the East German Stasi to ship the tanks to Saddam Hussein’s army in the late 1980s.

Letterbox still active

Nordea took over Loftur Johannesson as a customer from the Icelandic Landsbanki years after the banking crash of 2009. One of John’s letterbox, Aviation Finance and Services, opened in Panama in 1972, and is still active at Nordea. In Panama, documents can Mandate review see that the wealthy 85-year-old, as late as 2015, has four active letterbox at Nordea.

– We’re unable to comment on it because we can not and must not comment on individual customers, says Nordea’s press officer Magnus Nelin to Mandate Review.

But you have to be reasonably well able to answer how Nordea reasoning when you arrange letterbox in tax havens to a person singled out for decades have earned big money from arms smuggling?

– Yes, we can not give ourselves into such a discussion because then we would start to comment on individual clients.

“Should not be in gray area”

Overall, Nordea will concern itself with money that may come from arms smuggling?

– We will of course handle all the customers and all the missions in a very correct way. We shall also, it has been our president said, do not be in a gray area, says Magnus Nelin.

In Panama, documents visible links between several of Loftur John’s letter box and luxury homes, including in central London and Barbados. He is also reported to have a vineyard in France, but lives primarily in a large residence in Maryland, USA.

Mandate Review has sent detailed questions to Loftur Johannesson, but received no response. A spokesman for wealthy Icelander wrote in a comment to the International Journalist Group ICIJ about the data:

“Mr. Johannesson has been an international businessman, mainly in aviation-related activities, and he totally rejects your suggestions that he would have worked for some secret services.”

Tried to keep the identity secret

In Panama, documents shows that Nordea into the longest wants to keep Loftur John’s identity a secret. Even for the Panama firm Mossack Fonseca. In February 2013, enter the Nordea from its Luxembourg office: “The beneficial owner does not want to reveal his identity for Mossack Fonseca.”

When the Panama firm still asking about the identity responds Nordea in March 2013: “The company has” bearer shares “, and therefore we do not reveal the slutgiltige owner for you.”

“Bearer Shares”, bearer shares in Swedish, is a very controversial form of ownership. That means shares that do not have a named owner, but the one who physically carry proof of ownership is the owning company of the moment. Bearer shares have been banned in many countries.

Swedish Tax Agency explains why in a written comment for Mission Review: “Such bearer shares can be used to hide who the real owners are and to conceal the financial flows. Both the EU and the OECD believes that the bearer shares should not be allowed because they can provide a basis for money laundering or at least the risk of information between countries about who is the real owner (benificial owner) will not work. ”

4 May, 2016 11:08

Inline image 1





SAEED GHANI OF PPPP said that opposition parties are not withdrawing the demand of resignation of PM but want the investigations should proceed first. He said that except for Sher Pao and ANP all other political parties were in the favor of the resignation of PM before the investigations. He said that Talal Ch in a recent TV interview has said that the TRO’s of the government will not change but the government will consider if opposition come up with some constructive suggestion. He said that it seems there will be either government TRO’s or of the opposition parties. He said that the opposition will not back off from its TRO’s either because no commission has come up with any conclusion under the law of 1956. He said that investigation commission under the law of 1956 will have no authority to punish anybody.

He said that Capt Safdar did not mention the offshore companies of Maryam Nawaz in his details of wealth to election commission. He said that there is so much discrepancy in the statements of Hussain, Hassan, Maryam, Kulsoom Nawaz and as well as the leadership of PML-N on offshore companies. He said that morally Nawaz Sharif cannot face the world in the shadow of the Panama Papers alligations.

He said that the government is objecting on the language used by some opposition leaders. He said that CM of Punjab, information minister and other PML-N leaders are using derogatory language themselves.

MUSHARAF ZAIDI POLITICAL ANALYST said that PM should have said on Panama Papers from inception that he apologizes if made any mistake and will hold a clean inquiry of the matter. He said that there will be no outcome of the inquiry of Panama Papers. He said that on the 9th of May some more divulgences are going to be made by Panama Papers and the names of some opposition party’s people can be included in it. He said that the opposition must criticize the government but also should move forward constructively. He said that the PM of Iceland resigned because of the Panama Papers and David Cameron of Britain gave the details of the twenty thousand pound he borrowed from his father. He said that only poor is punished in Pakistan no rich person is ever brought to justice.

TARIQ FAZAL CH OF PML-N said that the names of many countries of the world are included in Panama Papers but Pakistan is the only country that set such a big investigating commission. He said that PTI is trying to make a big deal out of nothing. He said that the PM stated today that if the corruption of single penny is proven against him he will be responsible for it. He said that the doors of the government are open for opposition parties and is ready to have talks with them.

HAMID KHAN OF PTI said that the opposition parties have formed their TOR’s and want the inquiry completed in three months against the PM and in one year against others. He said that the inquiry should be carried out against all those whom names are included in the Panama Papers but it should start from the PM.

4 May, 2016 09:14



اپوزیشن جماعتوں نے یہ نہیں کہا کہ وزیراعظم سے استعفی نہ مانگا جائے بلکہ کہا ہے کہ پہلے تحقیقات ہوں بعد میں مانگا جائے۔ سعید غنی کی ندیم ملک لائیو میں گفتگو

شیر پاؤ اور اے این پی کے علاوہ باقی تمام اپوزیشن جماعتوں کا مطالبہ تھا کہ استعفی پہلے ہونا چاہئیےتحقیقات بعد میں ہوں۔ سعید غنی

طلال چوہدری نے ایک ٹی وی انٹرویو میں کہا ہے کہ کہ ٹی او آر حکومت کے ہی رہیں گے اپوزیشن کی کوئی اچھی تجویز ہوئی تو غور کریں گے۔ سعید غنی

لگتا یہ ہے کہ یا تو حکومت کے ٹی او آر ہوں گے یا پھر اپوزیشن کے ہوں گے۔ سعید غنی

اپویشن بھی اپنے ٹی او آر سے پیچھے نہیں ہٹے گی کیونکہ انیس سو چھپن کے قانون کے تحت کسی بھی انکوائری کمشن کی آج تک رپورٹ سامنے نہیں آئی۔ سعید غنی

انیس سو چھپن کے آئین کے تحت بننے والے تحقیقاتی کمشن کو کسی کو سزا دینے کا اختیار نہیں ہو گا۔ سعید غنی

وزیراعظم کو پہلے دن کہہ دینا چاہئیے تھا کہ اگر کوئی غلطی ہوئی ہے تو وہ معافی مانگتے ہیں اور وہ معاملے کی شفاف انکوائری کروایں گے۔ مشرف زیدی

پاناما پیپرز کی انکوائری میں ہونا یہ ہے کہ کچھ نہیں ہونا۔ مشرف زیدی

نو مئی کو پاناما پیپرز کچھ اور انکشافات کرنے جا رہا ہے اس میں اپوزیشن جماعتوں کے لوگوں کے بھی نام ہو سکتے ہیں۔ مشرف زیدی

اپوزیشن حکومت پر تنقید ضرور کرے لیکن ایکی تعمیری طریقے سے آگے بھی بڑھے۔ مشرف زیدی

پاناما پیپرز میں دنیا کے کئی ممالک کا نام آیا ہے لیکن پاکستان واحد ملک ہے جس نے اتنا بڑا تحقیقاتی کمشن بنایا ہے۔طارق فضل چوہدری

پاکستان تحریک انصاف پیالی میں طوفان لانے کی کوشش کر رہی ہے۔ طارق فضل چوہدری

کیپٹن صفدر نے الیکشن کمشن کو اپنے اثاثوں کی تفصیل میں مریم نواز کی آف شور کمپنیوں کا زکر نہیں کیا ۔سعید غنی

حسین، حسن، مریم، کلثوم نواز اور مسلم لیگ ن کے دیگر لیڈروں کے آف شور کمپنیوں پر بیانات میں بہت زیادہ تضاد ہے۔ سعید غنی

آئس لینڈ کے وزیراعظم نے پاناما پیپرز کی وجہ سے استعفی دیا اور ڈیوڈ کیمرون نے اپنے والد سے ادھار لئیے گئے بیس ہزار ڈالر کی تفصیلات بتائیں۔ مشرف زیدی

اپوزیشن نے ٹی او آر بنائے ہیں کہ پاناما پیپرز کے الزامات پروزیراعظم کے خلاف تین ماہ جبکہ باقی لوگوں کے خلاف ایک سال میں تحقیقات مکمل کی جایں۔حامد خان

پاناما پیپرز میں جن جن لوگوں کے نام ہیں سب کے خلاف تحقیقات ہونی چاہئییں لیکن آغاز وزیراعظم سے ہونا چاہئیے۔ حامد خان

وزیراعظم نے آج بھی کہا ہے کہ ان کے خلاف ایک پیسے کی بھی کرپشن ثابت ہو جائے تو وہ زمہ دار ہوں گے۔ طارق فضل چوہدری

اخلاقی طور پر وزیراعظم پاناما پیپرز کے الزامات کی موجودگی میں دنیا کا سامنا نہیں کر سکیں گے۔ سعید غنی

حکومت کے دروازے بات چیت کے لئیے کھلے ہیں وہ اپوزیشن سے بات چیت کے لئیے تیار ہے۔ طارق فضل چوہدری

پاکستان میں صرف غریب کو ہی سزا ملتی ہےکبھی کسی امیر آدمی کو سزا نہیں ہوئی۔ مشرف زیدی

حکومت اپوزیشن کی زبان پر تو اعتراض کر رہی ہے لیکن وزیراعلی اور انفرمیشن منسٹر سمیت مسلم لیگ ن والے بہت غلط زبان کا استعمال کر رہے ہیں۔ سعید غنی