Imran’s failure to declare London flat as an asset can have legal consequences: SC

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Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, during Tuesday’s hearing of Imran Khan’s disqualification case, said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief’s failure to declare his London flat as an asset can have legal consequences.

The proceedings of the case, being heard by a three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Nisar, resumed today after being suspended on September 7.

Explaining why Khan had not declared his London flat as an asset in his nomination papers, Khan’s lawyer Naeem Bokhari said that since the apartment was not in Pakistan and was bought from money he had earned abroad, the PTI chairman did not mention it in his papers.

In July, the PTI chief had told the court that while he hadn’t included his London flat in his tax returns, it was declared through a tax amnesty scheme in 2000 and subsequently, appeared in his election nomination papers for 2002.

During the hearing, the SC demanded that Khan’s counsel submit documents that prove he borrowed and returned 560,000 pounds to his former wife Jemima. Bokhari told the court that the money was transferred to Jemima through an account in the Royal Bank.

He read out Khan’s statement that he gave under oath to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) where he said that he had borrowed money from Jemima to pay for the Bani Gala property in 2002 and repaid the loan in 2003.

However, the money trail of 100,000 pounds could not be traced, Bokhari said and requested the court to grant more time so they can try and track it down.

NSL’s undeclared worth

The bench also asked for the account details of Niazi Services Limited (NSL), Khan’s offshore company, that was dissolved in 2015. Khan’s accountant, who appeared in court today to provide details of the politician’s accounts from 2001-04, admitted that he did not have them.

Akram Sheikh, who is representing the petitioner Hanif Abbasi, wondered why Khan had claimed that there was no money in NSL’s account even though its worth at the time of dissolution was $1,000.

In July, Bokhari had argued that his client’s non-disclosure of NSL was an error of “omission”, not an act of “dishonesty”.

However, in today’s hearing, the chief justice reiterated Sheikh’s point and said that since $1,000 were an asset, Khan should have declared the sum in his nomination papers.

The court also demanded the money trail of 75,000 pounds that were remitted in 2000 from London to Pakistan. Bokhari confessed that the bank records of the transfer were not available.

The hearing was adjourned till Sept 28.

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