Maryam denies being beneficial owner of London flats, companies

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz denied being the beneficial owner of London flats and offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll while recording her statement in Avenfield reference.

The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties, is among three filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.

Maryam remarked that she never took any financial advantage from these companies. Moreover, she shared that she has nothing to do with 25% shares of Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Taufiq case, and settlement worth Rs12 million.

Maryam said that the Capital FZE documents don’t concern her, adding that the documents were submitted with ‘despicable purposes’.

During court proceedings, Maryam remarked that the letters which were used as evidence against Sharif family cannot be made part of court records. The two letters she mentioned include one which was submitted by Joint Investigation Team Head Wajid Zia on July 3, 2017, and other by Mossack Fonseca dated June 22, 2012.
While referring to the JIT letter, she explained that the way letter was sent to JIT was quite suspicious and not according to the law. “There is no truth in letter attained from the private firm.”
Moreover, with regards to the Mossack Fonseca letter, she shared that she was denied the right to cross-examine the witness who penned down the letter. “I was denied cross-examination so the contents of the letter can’t be verified,” she said, adding that the court cannot depend on the letter in a transparent trial. “There were no supporting documents attached to the letter.”
Over this, the NAB prosecutor remarked that Maryam is free to summon the author of the letter before the court for cross-examination. To this, her legal counsel responded that they will have to see if the witness can be summoned or not.
“The documents presented by the prosecution cannot be accepted as evidence. These documents are unrelated to indictment.”
Maryam, who started recording her statement on Thursday, has recorded her statement in 82 of the 128 questions asked by the court.
Maryam, along with husband Captain (retd) Safdar and father Nawaz Sharif, is appearing before accountability judge Muhammad Bashir.

At the last hearing on Friday, Maryam had remarked that the flats in London are the property of her brother Hussain Nawaz, adding that he is also the beneficial owner of British Virgin Islands offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll.

Maryam further shared that the report compiled by forensic expert Robert Radley cannot be trusted as it is contrary to the facts.
“We had submitted the trust deed to the Supreme Court, however, the apex court did not ask any question about the trust deed,” she remarked, adding that the JIT began an investigation on its own and “approached a so-called IT expert with ill-intent.”
The entire process of engaging the IT expert and submitting him the documents is very suspicious, she asserted.

“In reality, the services of Radley were employed to produce a fake report. The report was prepared to include mine and my husband’s name in the case,” she added. “This report was prepared on the basis of a scanned copy which is unacceptable,” she said.

The corruption cases

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.
Later, on May 9, the trial court’s second plea for a deadline extension was approved by the Supreme Court which gave a month to both sides to finish the corruption cases.