SC questions whether Tareen used trust to hide assets
The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned Jahangir Tareen’s counsel over the trust through which the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader bought property in Britain.
A three-member apex bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab, is hearing a petition filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi which seeks the disqualification of Tareen and PTI Chief Imran Khan over the alleged non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies, as well as receiving foreign funding for PTI.
When asked about the documents pertaining to his argument, Tareen’s counsel Sikandar Bashir Mohmand promised the court that he would submit them along with the money trail of the amount that was sent outside Pakistan by his client. However, the bench appeared dissatisfied with his answer, with the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar commenting that the court had asked for all the documents, including records from the Finance Department, on the first day of the hearing.
Mohmand informed the court that residential land in Britain was bought through Shiny View Limited, an offshore company kept as a trust. The CJP asked for further explanation of the offshore company and the trust while Justice Umar Atta Bandial asked who the trustee of the trust was. Mohmand responded that EFG Bank was the trustee while Tareen was the trust settlor. He said that a trust is first made and later bought by an offshore company. In Tareen’s case, the trust was created on May 5, 2011.
He said that the documents for the trust and statements of Tareen’s children would be provided to the court, but should not be made public.
The court, however, said that it had the powers to ask for any documents it deemed suitable and the lawyer should tell the court why they should be kept secret.
The lawyer further stated that a residential plot worth 2 million pounds was bought through the company and a loan was obtained for its construction by offering the property as collateral. He said that the company conducts no business activities and Tareen does not have any assets in either the trust or the offshore company.
When asked if Tareen pays off the loan, Mohmand responded that the offshore company pays it back while Tareen funds it via the trust.
“We want to see when and how the funds for the company were sent,” the CJP said.
Justice Faisal Arab observed that a public office holder has made a trust using allegedly unlawful funds and does not show them as his assets.
To this, Tareen’s counsel responded that making a trust and buying a company is legal. He stated that not even Tareen’s children own the house in question.