UK authorities 'should seize property of Pakistan's ex-PM'

1 Aug 17

Campaign group Transparency International has urged the UK authorities to seize any property in the country owned by Pakistan’s disgraced ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

He was last week declared unfit for office and ousted by the country’s Supreme Court following a corruption probe linked to the Panama Papers scandal.

Transparency International said the Panama Papers had revealed that Sharif and his family had used anonymous offshore companies to purchase assets abroad, including four properties in London’s Park Lane.

It said the UK should establish whether the Sharifs still owned these and consider seizure if they had bought them with the proceeds of crime.

The properties were still held by the two companies that the Panama Papers showed were owned by close relatives of Sharif, but lack of transparency over the true owners of offshore companies made is impossible to know whether the Sharif family still controlled these companies.

Transparency International’s UK policy director Duncan Hames said: “It should not take a leak like the Panama Papers for us to know who is buying property in the UK. Allowing corrupt individuals to discreetly stash illicit cash in UK property hurts people in the societies they have stolen from and also contributes to the housing crisis here in the UK.

 “The government has repeatedly committed to introduce a register of the real owners of overseas companies that own property here, so it’s high-time those words were turned into action.”

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