Panamagate hearing: second letter from Qatari royal ‘clarifies’ Sharif investment in Gulf Steel Mills

As the Panamagate hearing resumed Thursday, a second letter signed by Qatari royal Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani submitted to the Supreme Court attempted to offer up clarification on the Sharif family’s business ties and money trail in the Middle East.

Panamagate hearing: second letter from Qatari royal 'clarifies' Sharif investment in Gulf Steel Mills

Panamagate hearing: second letter from Qatari royal ‘clarifies’ Sharif investment in Gulf Steel Mills

The letter attempts to shed light on “certain queries… raised with respect to my statement dated Nov 5, 2016.”

The second letter from the Qatari royal, like the first which was submitted in court last November, is marked private, confidential and not to be disclosed to any party, except for the benefit of the courts of Pakistan, and on the letterhead of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, who ruled Qatar from 2007 to 2013.

In it, Al-Thani says PM Nawaz’s father, Mian Muhammad Sharif, made an investment of approximately 12 million dirhams in the Al-Thani family’s real estate business.

“The investment was made by way of provision of cash which was common practice in the Gulf region at the time of the investment. It was also, given the longstanding relationship between my father and Mr Sharif, a customary way for them to do business between themselves,” it said.

“At the end of 2005, after receiving all accruals and other distributions made over the term of the investment, it was agreed that an amount of approx $8,000,000 was due to Mr Sharif. The amount due to him was settled in 2006,” the letter explained, “by way of the delivery to Mr Hussain Nawaz Sharif’s representative of bearer shares of Nescoll Ltd and Nielsen Enterprises Ltd, which had been kept during that time in Qatar.”

The letter is accompanied by transaction details and auditor’s reports regarding the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai and the Azizia Steel Mills in Jeddah.

Other documents submitted in court today by Hassan and Hussain Nawaz’s counsel include a land acquisition deed for the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai and a letter verifying the existence of the mills, as well as other documents pertaining to the sale of the Gulf and Azizia mills.

A confirmation letter signed by the director general of a municipality said the mills used to exist in Dubai in the mid 1970’s on a rented plot of 1,000,000 square feet.

Regarding the Sharif family’s Park Lane flats in London, the reply said they were bought by Mian Muhammad Sharif for his grandsons. During the family’s years in exile, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were living in the London flats, it said.

Maryam Nawaz’s BMW

Resuming his arguments before the apex court, Maryam Nawaz’s lawyer Advocate Shahid Hamid told the court he would submit tax returns regarding gifts given to the prime minister from his children.

The subject of discussion turned towards a car Maryam Nawaz was allegedly gifted by her brother Hassan.

“How was so much profit earned through the sale of the BMW?” Justice Ejaz Afzal wondered.

Hamid told the court the BMW was bought by Hassan Nawaz in 2006 and gifted to Maryam Nawaz two years later.

“In 2011, Maryam Nawaz sold the BMW for Rs2 million,” Hamid said.

‘PM Nawaz did not make misstatements in NA speech’

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif submitted a reply in court responding to arguments made by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) lawyer Advocate Taufiq Asif before the apex court during a hearing of the case earlier this week.

“The prime minister did not make any misstatements in his speech in the assembly,” the reply said, referring to the speech made by the premier on the floor of the National Assembly last May, following the Panama leaks.

The reply maintained that Nawaz Sharif does not own the London flats. “The prime minister is not the beneficial owner of any of the four flats.”

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