LONDON: After getting paid £920,000 on August 17 through a London High Court order and previously receiving an estimated $30 million from Pakistan, Broadsheet LLC has a new claim asking the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Pakistan government to pay around £1.2 million in legal fees and disbursements in seeking to take enforcement action from courts against Pakistan and NAB.
A source at the United National Bank London said that it transferred £920,000 to Broadsheet on August 17 but now Broadsheet has written to NAB, seeking to “recover” a sum of £1,113,261.43 for legal fees and £61,497.40 for disbursements.
This correspondent has seen the latest letter sent by Broadsheet’s lawyers at Crowell & Moring to Broadsheet — through Pakistan’s lawyers at Allen and Overy — in which Pakistan has been told that these sums are towards “full credit for the legal fees and disbursements which have already been subjected to summary assessment by the court and paid” and have been “incurred in seeking to take enforcement action” against the Pakistani authorities.
Broadsheet’s lawyers argue that the amount of £1.2 million is owed by Pakistan as a “consequence” of NAB’s failure to satisfy first the Arbitration Awards and then the High Court Orders as a “substantial amount of work” has been undertaken to enforce those orders — the costs of which Broadsheet now looks to Pakistan to pay. The lawyers said that these costs are being demanded due to the “inaction and conduct” of NAB’s lawyers and NAB.
The letter to NAB, which has been received in Islamabad at the NAB headquarters, says that these amounts were incurred as Broadsheet was required to explore a number of “alternative actions for enforcement”.
The letter to NAB’s lawyer says: “Your clients have been slow to respond causing unnecessary delay and despite numerous assurances that they would pay, failed to action payment. This led to our client seeking to enforce payment through the Third-Party Debt Orders, which your client also failed to engage with. Given your client’s lack of response, our client had no choice but to also consider alternative means of enforcement and such action was completely vindicated when you client eventually engaged with the Third Party Debt Order (for the very first time at the hearing itself in December 2020) to oppose the application on grounds of State Immunity.”
The letter sets out that the Final Quantum and Costs Awards date back to 2019 and enforcement proceedings continued for just short of two years but NAB failed to engage with Broadsheet’s lawyers and showed no interest in seeking an amicable resolution.
“It seems to our client that your client’s conduct falls well short of that expected by a sovereign state and that conduct has added very considerably to the costs that our client must meet,” says the letter.
Broadsheet’s lawyers have also held NAB’s London lawyers responsible for contributing towards the increase of costs for Broadsheet.
In seeking £1.2 million, Broadsheet has written to NAB’s lawyers: “The conduct of both you and your client in failing to deal with the concerns raised by our client and take or communicate instructions promptly has undoubtedly led to further inter-party correspondence. This has increased costs for our client.”
Broadsheet CEO Kaveh Moussavi, when contacted, confirmed that the firm’s lawyers have invited the Pakistan government to discuss how this matter can be resolved.
“If not amicably resolved, we will be issuing proceedings at the end of this month and there will be more costs on top of what Broadsheet is seeking,” he said.
The Broadsheet LLC was hired by Pakistan more than two decades ago to trace assets belonging to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, as well as several other politicians and businessmen, including Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto.
Pakistan broke the contract in violation of the agreement it had signed and the case has so far cost Pakistan close to $65 million in legal fees and awards after Moussavi, who beneficially owns Broadsheet, brought the case before sole arbitrator Sir Anthony Evans QC under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
The arbitration judge found that Pakistan had conspired to criminally defraud Broadsheet Isle of Man. Broadsheet’s lawyers convinced London High Court to seize Pakistan’s assets at United Bank Limited (UBL) in December 2020. Since then, Broadsheet has made further claims over the remaining sums, interests and costs.
So far, the Broadsheet case has cost Pakistan over $65 million in total. Of this amount, Broadsheet has received around £30 million while an estimated $25 million has been paid to NAB’s London lawyers. NAB’s legal team expense on the case in Pakistan stands at over $5 million.