Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani real estate tycoon, has agreed to hand over 190 million pounds (approximately $248m) held in Britain to settle a corruption investigation.
Hussain is one of Pakistan’s richest and most powerful businessmen and biggest private employers, and is known for upmarket gated housing societies. He has been caught up in corruption investigations.
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said it had agreed to a settlement in which Hussain would hand over a property, 1 Hyde Park Place, valued at 50 million pounds (approximately $65m), and cash frozen in British bank accounts.
The NCA had previously secured nine freezing orders covering 140 million pounds (approximately $182m) in the accounts on the grounds that the money may have been acquired illegally.
The agency said the assets would be passed to the government of Pakistan, which has been spearheading an anti-corruption campaign since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power last year.
The NCA however, said that the settlement with Hussain was “a civil matter, and does not represent a finding of guilt”.
Hussain, who also supports charitable causes in the South Asian nation of 200 million, quoted this line in a tweet and also tweeted the NCA statement.
“Some habituals are twisting the NCA report 180 degrees to throw mud at me,” he added.
The settlement rekindles hopes for Prime Minister Khan’s anti-corruption drive, which has so far failed to bring back the billions of dollars that his government accuses the opposition politicians have stashed abroad.
Local British and Pakistani media reported that the property was sold to Riaz’s family by former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son.
On @ZaraHatKay_Dawn tonight we discuss in detail settlement between NCA and Malik Riaz over UK properties one of which was earlier owned by Hussain Nawaz along with #UoBVideoScandal and inspirational stories of differently abled Pakistanis making it big @ZarrarKhuhro @Dawn_News
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) December 3, 2019
Al Jazeera could not verify the authenticity of the report as no official account of the transaction is available.
Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018 on corruption charges linked to Panama Papers revelations regarding his family’s properties outside Pakistan.