Pakistan readies to pay $27m to Broadsheet after London accounts frozen


LONDON: The Pakistani government has issued instructions to United National Bank’s London office to make a payment of around $27 million to Broadsheet after the company moved the London High Court and obtained freezing orders on monies kept in bank accounts in London linked with the Government of Pakistan.

Broadsheet LLC was hired by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime to investigate the alleged hidden assets of a number of Pakistanis abroad, including the Sharif family. The agreement was terminated by NAB in 2003, after which Pakistan owed damages to the company.

Trusted sources have shared that the instructions were issued recently to comply with the London High Court orders pertaining to the Third Party Debt Order which directed the United National Bank last month to freeze financial assets worth around $27 million in the accounts belonging to the state of Pakistan.

A hearing has been scheduled for 3rd of November at the London High Court’s Financial Division where Pakistan government’s team will inform the court about the arrangements it has made to make the payments to Broadsheet LLC.

The source said that the government has directed the London bank to have the monies ready to dispose off all liabilities as per the London High court order.

But the owner of Broadsheet LLC is seeking at least $33 million on account of the accrued interest at the rate of around $5,000 per day.

His lawyers have said that the client will be seeking damages and further payments on account of the alleged breaches of court orders and that means the total payments could go beyond $35 million. 

A spokesman of Broadsheet told this reporter that several matters will be brought before the court and “we believe that the final payment will be nearly in the region of $35 million as that figure will cover us fully”.

In June this year, NAB had sought Rs4.41 billion from the Finance Division to clear the outstanding liabilities to Broadsheet. This was after Broadsheet won a case of arbitration against NAB in the Chartered Institute of Arbitration in London. The arbitrator had issued part final award (quantum) for $21,589,460.00 along with interest.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitration also issued part final award (costs) amounting to $5,637,130.50 against the Government of Pakistan through NAB. The total amount payable stood at $27,226,590.50.

Broadsheet’s owner obtained freezing orders from the court in early August and the freeze will remain in effect until the final hearing which is due in the first week of November. 

It is understood that at that time the funds will be turned over to Broadsheet to satisfy the Pakistani state’s debt but the company’s lawyers have indicated that they will be making further applications.

Soon after receiving the court orders, United National Bank said that it had taken the necessary steps against a number of additional accounts held with it to enforce the interim order.

In late July as the Pakistan cricket team arrived here for the summer tour of England, Broadsheet said it would be seeking to “seize the assets of the Pakistani cricket team” but no action was taken due to legal technicalities and practical difficulties.

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