UK govt official documents establish business links between central characters of Broadsheet and powerful Pakistanis
– Talat Ghumman setup company STAT (UK) PLC with six other shareholders
– Other shareholders were two individuals Saeed Ahmed and Burhan Uddin Khan and four secret companies Hamra Inc, Moonhen Inc, Seafex Inc, and Triperna Inc.
– All the seven shareholders are connected to Steeplechase Middle East the company of Tariq Fawad Malik, the central character of Braodsheet scandal
– Ghumman, belongs to an army family, is a powerful personality in Pakistan and was DG Financial Crimes Investigation Wing (FCIW), owner of MTRAC, and worked with Schon Group.
– Saeed Ahmad and Burhan Uddin Khan are based in UAE and were named in ICIJ’s 2013 and 2016 leaks of offshore companies
– Four shareholder companies of the STAT (UK) PLC couldn’t be traced.
– Pakistan’s legal team in Broadsheet arbitration award case in UK court remained silent, didn’t present key facts about pending cases in Pakistan and favored Broadsheet from 2017 onward.
British government documents reveal business connections between some very powerful Pakistani personalities and central characters associated with Broadsheet.
Official British government documents establish that a central character of NAB-Broadsheet fiasco Talat Mehmood Ghumman, former DG Financial Crimes NAB and a powerful personality in Pakistan, set up a company with the name STAT (UK) PLC in the United Kingdome in 2014. The shareholders of this UK-based company include two other Pakistanis and four secret companies Hamra Inc, Moonhen Inc, Seafex Inc, and Triperna Inc. ‘Fact Focus’, during its investigations in different jurisdictions, was unable to find a trace of any of these four companies. The two other Pakistani shareholders of STAT (UK) PLC were Saeed Ahmed and Burhan Uddin Khan. Both Saeed Ahmed and Burhan Uddin Khan were named in ICIJ’s leaks of offshore companies as beneficial owners of offshore companies. Both of them were also nominated in an FIA investigation on foreign properties of Pakistanis. However, according to official documents of incorporation of the company, all these three persons and all the four shareholder secret companies are connected to the central character of the Broadsheet scandal Tariq Fawad Malik and his UAE based company ‘Steeplechase Middle East’.
STAT (UK) PLC Shareholders
Background of Broadsheet and its agreement with Pakistan Army Generals:
Broadsheet is the company that signed a dubious agreement with Pakistan army generals on June 20, 2000, for searching hidden assets of Pakistanis in other countries. The agreement text mentioned Broadsheet as “Broadsheet, a company specializing in the recovery of such assets/missing funds”. Whereas official documents proved that Broadsheet was incorporated only a few days before the signing of the agreement in Isle of Man in May 2000. According to its incorporation document, Broadsheet was owned by two Panama-based offshore companies Oxford Holding International and Berkshire International Holding. Kaveh Moussavi, the current proprietor of Broadsheet, despite repeated questions from ‘Fact Focus’ never explained who is the actual owner/beneficial owner of these two offshore companies. In his written response to ‘Fact Focus’, Moussavi only pressed the point that he gave the first cheque for the Broadsheet. The agreement was drafted in a way that enabled Broadsheet to receive huge sums of money from the national exchequer of Pakistan for an infinite time. Broadsheet was supposed to point out the properties and assets of some wealthy Pakistanis. These wealthy Pakistanis could possibly have assets outside Pakistan even for legitimate and rational reasons and purposes. According to the agreement, Pakistan was bound to a 20% commission of the value of the recovered assets of these wealthy Pakistanis (named in a list of 200 persons) even if such a discovery was made by Pakistan itself. Pakistan has spent $65 million so far to deal with the issues pertaining to Broadsheet and this process doesn’t seem to stop any time soon.
This agreement was not even vetted by the law minister before it was signed. When the same was sent to the law minister, the then law federal minister Shahid Jamil wrote a note to the then chairman NAB on September 12, 2001 by specifically mentioning the dubious para as follows;
“It is, therefore, my view that it may be advisable to settle with M/s Broadsheet, rather than spend huge sums of foreign exchange on a risky legal tangle the prospects of which are most likely to lead to our paying not only the expensive legal fees and costs of travel and boarding and lodging abroad of legal counsel and others but also the claims of M/s Broadsheet.”
Brief background of Broadsheet arbitration for the recovery of its 20% commission
Based on information about foreign assets of some Pakistanis most of which were already known to everybody and were being reported in the media since the late 1990s, Broadsheet started arbitration in the UK courts for recovery of its 20% share. An initial judgment in favor of Broadsheet was passed by a UK court in August 2016 because of the extremely dubious agreement of 2000. However, the situation completely changed in 2017, and prosecution from Pakistan became almost silent on the key points of the case and avoided presenting facts before the UK court. This attitude of Pakistani prosecution resulted in arbitration award judgment on December 17, 2018, and arbitration award costs judgment on October 10, 2019. Pakistan is continuously paying Broadsheet now. The pleas taken by the attorneys representing Pakistan during the hearings of these cases establish beyond an iota of doubt that they were intentionally hiding facts from the judge and were not presenting key evidence that NAB itself has not recovered anything from the accused persons in these cases.
Central characters of Broadsheet:
Central characters associated with Broadsheet at the time of its agreement with Pakistan army generals on June 20, 2000, include Jerry James (United States), Dr. William Pepper (UK) and, Tariq Fawad Malik (Pakistan). According to official documents and UK courts judgments, Jerry James was already involved in different fraudulent activities. Jerry James, who allegedly committed suicide in Paris, had set up a company with the name “Steeplechase” in Colorado, USA in 2005 to sort out issues related to Broadsheet of Isle of Man which signed the 2000 agreement with NAB. Jerry James also set up companies with the same name ‘Broadsheet’ in Gibraltar, Denver and, Colorado for the same purpose.
The 2016 arbitration judgment by a UK arbitration court judge Sir Anthon Evans discusses all the characters and developments in detail.
Tariq Fawad Malik signed the agreement between NAB and Broadsheet as a witness and represented the two asset recovery firms ‘Broadsheet’ and ‘International Asset Recovery’ (IAR) from the year 2000 onward. Detailed stories have already been published in international and Pakistani media about the background of Tariq Fawad Malik and how huge sums of monies were paid to Broadsheet characters. In his January 20, 2021 story for daily The News, journalist Murtaza Ali Shah revealed that Tariq, a former Air Force (PAF) Pilot Officer who was dismissed from the service over fraud offenses, was a son-in-law of retired General Naeem. General Naeem helped Tariq Fawad Malik to convince the then chairman NAB to sign an agreement with Broadsheet. Tariq however told the UK court during the arbitration proceedings that he was a private businessman and worked with Broadsheet as a consultant/representative in Pakistan. According to a UN Security Council document, Tariq Fawad Malik was also a nominated gold smuggler of the famous Black Pearl Case. After continuous complaints against him, NAB has to initiate investigations against Tariq but he was never arrested. Just like Jerry James, Tariq Fawad Malik also set up a company with the name of “Steeplechase Middle East” in UAE. The address of Steeplechase Middle East is: Office No 2522, 25th Floor, H Hotel, Office Block, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Central characters of NAB in Broadsheet fiasco – Talat Mehmood Ghumman:
From the Pakistan side, the characters who were instrumental while signing the agreement with Broadsheet were the then Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf, the then NAB chairman retired Lt. General Amjad, and NAB’s prosecutor general, Farouk Adam.
A central character who remained in constant touch with Broadsheet right from January 2001 until mid of the year 2003 was the then director-general financial crimes NAB Talat Mehmood Ghumman. Ghumman also comes from an army background. Ghumman has three brothers who all are retired army officers. Ghumman is the first cousin of Pakistan’s current chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and two brothers of the former are married to the two sisters of the latter. Ghumman’s two brothers Khawar and Shujaat were settled in the USA whereas the fourth Colonel (R) Naeem Ghumman is based in Lahore. Naeem Ghumman also got active in 2017 onward and set up a business with the name of ‘Gawadar Air’ which could not start proper operations as the information was leaked prematurely. Naeem Ghumman had held several meetings with officials after the launch of the Gawadar Air including the then Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Qadus Bazenjo. Colonel (R) Naeem also works on a project for Bahria Town.
Ghumman had joined NAB as director-general financial crimes investigation wing (FCIW) few days after the October 12, 1999, military coup on November 25, 1999, and continued with NAB on different position until August 02, 2004. In 2005, NAB and Ghumman set an asset recovery firm in Pakistan with the name of “MTRAC”. Complete ownership of MTRAC is with Ghumman and his wife and daughters. MTRAC claimed to be a company specializing in financial investigations and tracing the money. and Later on, MTRAC remained engaged with NAB. After quitting the NAB job, Ghuman not only established MTRAC but also joined Schon Group as its employee/private consultant. He was investigating the corruption of Schon Group during his service with NAB. In his response to ‘Fact Focus’, Ghumman maintained that neither he had anything to do with Broadsheet in the past nor he has any links now. He said that he was the most vocal voice against the broadsheet in the NAB. Ghumman admitted incorporating the company STAT (UK) PLC with Burhan Uddin Ahmad and four companies for raising equity for the Silk Bank and that this business was connected with Tariq Fawad Malik. He added that Tariq Fawad Malik is an honest person and Patriot Pakistani. Ghumman said that Saeed Ahmed was not part of STAT (UK) PLC. He said that the purpose of setting up companies was not accomplished and thus all the companies were closed down. He said that no transaction had ever taken place. Ghumman said that Schon Group became a customer of his company MTRAC and it was because of his efforts that Schon Group returned all the money of different banks it had defaulted.
Different official NAB documents showing Talat Ghumman participation in NAB-Broadsheet meetings and his communication with Broadsheet while he was still with NAB.
STAT (UK) PLC
Ghumman incorporated Stat (UK) PLC (Company number 09210705) on September 09, 2014. Ghumman had 7.5 million shares in the company whereas the shareholding of Saeed Ahmad was 5 million, Burhan Uddin Khan 2.5 million, Hamra Inc, 7.5 million, Moonhen Inc, 9 million, Seafex Inc, 9 million, Triperna Inc, 9.5 million. Initially, Talat Ghumman was not a director of the company but according to Companies House UK documents, he was appointed as a director on February 11, 2015. According to these documents, officers of the company were Officers Liam McGrattan director, Nial Ring accountant. All the three individuals and four secret companies who were shareholders of STAT (UK) PLC had the same address in the UK government’s official documents as that of Steeplechase Middle East. The company was dissolved on May 23, 2017.
Payments made by Pakistan to Broadsheet:
1- NAB signed an agreement with IAR to settle Broadsheet-related issues on January 02, 2008, and paid $1.5 million to a shell company.
2- NAB under a settlement agreement with Jerry James on May 20, 2008, paid the amount of $1.5 million in two installments on May 20, 2008, and on September 29 2008 to Steeplechase, USA.
3- NAB paid $28.7 million to Broadsheet in January 2021.
4- NAB paid $1.2 million to Broadsheet on August 17, 2021. Still, there are claims of millions of dollars.
Pakistan has spent some $65 million for Broadsheet which includes more than 30 million British Pound paid to Broadsheet and some $30 million as legal and administrative expenses made in Pakistan and the UK.
(The story was updated with the version of Talat Ghumman and editing of some mistakes at 2:55 pm Pakistan Standard Time (October 03, 2021.)