LONDON: An investigation by The Financial Times (FT) has revealed that Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi’s Cayman Islands-incorporated firm Wootton Cricket Ltd was utilized by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Azad after receiving funds from corporations and people, together with a minimum of £ -Insaf (PTI) was accomplished to regulate. 2 million in April 2013 from an influential Arab determine.
The FT stated in its report: “Pakistan forbids foreign nationals and companies from funding political parties, but Abraj emails and internal documents seen by the Financial Times, including one for Wootton Cricket account, dated 28 February and 30 May 2013 Bank details covering the intervening period are included. In the UAE, show that both companies and foreign nationals as well as citizens of Pakistan sent millions of dollars to Wooton Cricket – before money was taken from the account for PTI was transferred. “
The Election Commission of Pakistan has been probing the funding of PTI for greater than seven years. In January, the ECP’s investigative committee launched a damning report during which it stated that PTI acquired funds from overseas nationals and firms and accused it of under-reporting the funds and hiding dozens of financial institution accounts. Wooton Cricket was named within the report, however Naqvi was not recognized as its proprietor.
The FT, in its report by journalist Simon Clark, claimed that PTI’s overseas funding case has been alive for a few years and Pakistani authorities knew that Arif Naqvi had funded PTI however the ultimate supply of the cash was being disclosed for the primary time. was.
The report stated: “Wooton Cricket’s bank statement shows that on March 14, 2013, $1.3 million was received from Abraaj Investment Management Limited, the fund management unit of Naqvi’s private equity firm, bringing the previous balance of the account to $5,431. Later on the same day, $1.3 million was transferred directly from the account to a PTI bank account in Pakistan. Abraaj incurred costs to a holding company, through which he sold electricity to Pakistan’s largest city Karachi— Controlled Electric. According to a copy of the bank statement and SWIFT transfer statement, $2 million flowed from a UAE personality into a Wootton Cricket account in April 2013.
“Naqvi exchanged emails with a colleague about transferring another $1.2 million to PTI. Six days after $2 million arrived in Wootton Cricket bank account, Naqvi transferred $1.2 million of it to Pakistan in two instalments. Rafiq Lakhani, senior executive of Abraj, responsible for managing cash flows, wrote in an email to Naqvi that the transfers were intended for PTI,” the FT report revealed.
It said that PTI had received foreign funding ahead of the 2013 general elections, when Imran Khan was in need of funding the most.
“This was a crucial time for Khan to raise funds ahead of the May 2013 election, and Naqvi worked closely with other Pakistani businessmen to raise funds for his campaign. The largest entry into Wootton Cricket’s bank account in the months prior to the election was $2 million from the United Arab Emirates figure.
Lakhani, the Abraj government liable for money stream, informed Naqvi in an e-mail that the UAE sheikh’s cash had arrived, with Naqvi replying that he ought to ship “1.2 million to PTI”.
According to the FT, in one other e-mail to Lakhani after Sheikh’s cash entered the Wootton Cricket account, Naqvi wrote: “Don’t tell anyone where the money is coming from, ie who is contributing”.
“Sure sir,” replied Lakhani.
He wrote that he would switch $1.2 million from Wootton Cricket to PTI’s account in Pakistan. Then after contemplating sending cash by means of Naqvi’s private account to PTI, Lakhani proposed to ship the cash in two installments to businessman Tariq Shafi’s private account in Karachi and to an account for an establishment known as Insaaf Trust in Lahore .
While the possession of Insaf Trust isn’t clear, the e-mail stated the ultimate vacation spot was PTI, the FT stated.
“Don’t do this to Rafiq,” Naqvi wrote in one other e-mail.
On 6 May 2013, Wootton Cricket transferred a complete of $1.2mn to Shafi and Insaf Trust. Lakhani wrote in an e-mail to Naqvi that the transfers had been for PTI, the FT stated in its investigation report.
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Imran Khan confirms getting funding
In response to a question despatched by the UK publication, PTI chairman Imran Khan stated in a written reply that he had “visited Arif Naqvi’s Wootton Place for a fundraising event which was attended by several PTI supporters”.
Imran Khan confirmed that Tariq Shafi donated to PTI.
“It is for Tariq Shafi to answer from where did he get this money.” Khan informed the FT. Shafi didn’t reply to requests for remark.
The PTI chairman informed the FT that neither he nor his social gathering was conscious that Abraj was offering $1.3 million by means of Wootton Cricket. He additionally stated that he’s not conscious that PTI has acquired any cash from the UAE persona.
Imran Khan wrote, “Arif Naqvi has given a statement which was also filed before the Election Commission, no one denied that the money came from donations during the cricket match and the money collected by him was his company Wootn. Was sent through cricket.” ,
He informed the newspaper that he was ready for the Election Commission’s determination to research. The former PM stated, ‘It wouldn’t be acceptable to invest about PTI prematurely.
Arif Naqvi’s response to ECP
The FT stated that Arif Naqvi had informed the ECP that he “has not received any funds from any person, company of non-Pakistani origin. [public or private] or any other restricted source” however a financial institution assertion for Wootton Cricket refutes his declare and exhibits that Naqvi transferred three installments on to PTI in 2013, totaling $2.12 million.
The largest was $1.3 million from Abraaj, which firm paperwork present was transferred to Wootton Cricket, however charged to Ok-Electric, its holding firm.
Akbar S Babar, who helped arrange PTI, informed the FT that “prohibited money happened”.
The FT wrote that Arif Naqvi lobbied for help in 2016 for the Nawaz Sharif’s governments and the sale of Karachi Electric (KE) to Imran Khan.
It stated: “In 2016, he authorized the payment of $20mn to Pakistani politicians to gain his support, according to US public prosecutors, who later charged him with fraud, theft and attempted bribery. Payments It was reportedly meant for Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz, who replaced Khan as prime minister in April. The brothers have denied being aware of the matter. In January 2017, Naqvi posed for Nawaz Sharif in Davos. hosted a dinner. Naqvi met Khan after he became prime minister. While in office, Khan criticized officials for delaying the sale of K-Electric but the deal is still not completed. Gates Foundation in 2018. Abraaj collapsed after investors began investigating whether the company was misusing funds with the intention of buying and building hospitals in Africa and Asia.
In 2019, US prosecutors indicted Naqvi and five of his former aides. Two former Abraaj officials have since pleaded guilty. Naqvi has denied the allegations. Naqvi was arrested at London’s Heathrow airport after returning from Pakistan in April 2019 and faces up to 291 years in prison if convicted of the US charges.
“Khan’s phone quantity was included within the listing of contacts handed over to the police – a truth famous by legal professionals representing the US authorities throughout Naqvi’s extradition trial in London,” the FT stated.
Arif Naqvi bought his Wootton Place mansion for £12.25mn in 2020. He didn’t reply to FT’s questions.