Kingsley Napley, the law firm that represents the family of Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz Hussain, said on Wednesday the family considered it a matter of considerable regret that the government of Pakistan breached its own undertaking which it gave to both the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom and the counter parties over a confidential agreement reached in 2019.
A statement said that the confidential agreement reached with the NCA arose from civil proceedings and any suggestion that the confidential agreement was in any way improper was without foundation, otherwise, the NCA would not have agreed to it.
The statement comes a day after a press conference of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on this matter. The following is the text of the statement:
“Kingsley Napley advises Mr Malik Riaz Hussain and family members, and issues the following statement on behalf of its clients:
“Statement on behalf of the family of Mr Malik Riaz Hussain dated 15 June 2022
“This statement refers to yesterday’s announcement by the Government of Pakistan in which it released details of a confidential agreement entered between the National Crime Agency (“the NCA”, an agency of the United Kingdom) and members of Mr Hussain’s family (“the counter parties”).
The confidential agreement
“The confidential agreement, dated 6 November 2019, provided for two key outcomes: (i) for the NCA to withdraw unconditionally certain civil freezing orders which had been obtained by the NCA over a number of UK bank accounts following a letter from the Government of Pakistan to the NCA which made reference to the acquisition in 2007 of the property by Mr Hassan Nawaz, the son of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, and its subsequent sale in 2016 to Mr Hussain’s son; (ii) at the sole direction of the account holders, the contents of those bank accounts to be paid against an existing civil debt owed by Mr Hussain’s business, Bahria Town (Private) Limited. The confidential agreement also made provision for the sale of 1 Hyde Park Place and for the proceeds to be paid against the same civil debt.
“Before entering the confidential agreement, the NCA sought and obtained the approval of the Government of Pakistan. The account freezing orders were discharged unconditionally by order of the English court.
“The agreement itself, and any dispute arising from it, is subject to English law.
“The agreement included a confidentiality clause. For its part, the NCA was required to procure the Government of Pakistan to execute a deed of confidentiality. The NCA fulfilled its part of the bargain and such a deed was executed by the Government of Pakistan on 6 November 2019 in the form of an undertaking. In substance, the Government of Pakistan promised to keep confidential both the agreement and related information.
“The family considers it a matter of considerable regret that the Government of Pakistan has breached its own undertaking which it gave to both the NCA and the counter parties. The confidentiality of the agreement was designed to avoid uninformed speculation concerning the underlying facts, and this objective has now been undermined.
“In these circumstances the family wishes to emphasise the following:
1. The confidential agreement reached with the NCA arose from civil proceedings. As the NCA explained in its press release when the confidential agreement was entered, “[t]he settlement is a civil matter and does not represent a finding of guilt”
2. The confidential agreement was entered in the public interest. Both the United Kingdom’s NCA and the Government of Pakistan approved of it.
3. Any suggestion that the confidential agreement was in any way improper is without foundation. The NCA would not have agreed to it otherwise.
“Bahria Town (Private) Limited wishes to confirm it will continue to uphold the highest ethical standards and to provide an outstanding service to its clients.
“It would be inappropriate to say anything further on the matter given the confidential nature of the agreement.”