UK to return £190 million in frozen assets to Pakistan amid property tycoon's court case

UK to return £190 million in frozen assets to Pakistan amid property tycoon
# 04 December 2019 04:19 (UTC +04:00)

Pakistani property tycoon Malik Riaz has agreed to pay UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) £190m in a settlement after eight UK bank accounts linked to him were frozen in August 2019, APA reports citing Sputnik.

“The assets will be returned to the State of Pakistan,” the NCA said, referring to the settlement amount.

The UK watchdog found that money used to purchase these properties was “suspected to have been derived from bribery and corruption”. However, no individuals were named.

Malik Riaz would pay the amount for his disputed properties that include a UK property, One Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH, valued at approximately £50 million and funds in the frozen accounts.

“The £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national, who is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan,” NCA said.

Sharing details of the investigation, the NCA said eight account-freezing orders were secured in August 2019 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. This was in connection with funds worth £120 million.

It was reported, based on property transfer documents, that One Hyde Park Palace was previously owned by Hassan Nawaz, son of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and sold to Malik Riaz for £43 million two week ahead of the Panama Paper leak in 2016.

Nawaz Sharif, his three children and his son-in-law were accused of acquiring several properties in London by siphoning off public money. Currently, Nawaz Sharif is hospitalised in London on conditional bail as the three-time prime minister was sentenced for a seven-year jail term, in a corruption case.