UK: One of Pakistan’s wealthiest men has agreed to hand over £190m to UK investigators in the largest asset recovery ever recorded by the National Crime Agency. The out-of-court settlement includes a £50m house overlooking Hyde Park, as well as £140m in frozen accounts.
The deal with the family of Malik Riaz Hussain did not find any guilt and will see the money “returned to the State of Pakistan,” a statement said. The property tycoon and philanthropist has made his fortune building upmarket, gated housing communities, but his firm has been caught up in investigations into corruption and land-grabbing.
Imran Khan’s government welcomed the settlement as a success story of close cooperation between its asset recovery unit and the British authorities. Mr Khan was elected last year vowing to repatriate huge sums of money he alleges have been illegally salted away overseas by former leaders and members of the political elite. He has claimed much of it is in London.
A statement from the NCA said: “The National Crime Agency has agreed a settlement figure with a family that owns large property developments in Pakistan and elsewhere.
“The £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national, whose business is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan.”
The accounts had been frozen earlier on the grounds that the money may have been acquired illegally. Pakistan’s Supreme Court in March accepted an offer from Mr Hussain’s firm to pay £2.3bn to settle cases over a Karachi development.
He said after Tuesday’s settlement was announced: “I sold our legal and declared property in UK to pay £190m to Supreme Court Pakistan against Bahria Town Karachi.
He stressed that the settlement “is a civil matter and does not represent a finding of guilt. “ I am a proud Pakistan and I will remain until I breathe my last.”