Pak Govt gets £190m in settlement with property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain

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LONDON: Pakistani property tycoon Malik Riaz has agreed to pay UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) £190m in a settlement after eight UK bank accounts linked to him were frozen in August 2019. “The assets will be returned to the State of Pakistan,” the NCA said, referring to the settlement amount.

According to a latest statement by the Government of Pakistan, the relevant amount has been received by the government. The UK watchdog found that money used to purchase these properties was “suspected to have been derived from bribery and corruption”. However, no individuals were named.

Malik Riaz would pay the amount for his disputed properties that include a UK property, One Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH, valued at approximately £50 million and funds in the frozen accounts.

“The £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national, who is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan,” NCA said.

Sharing details of the investigation, the NCA said eight account-freezing orders were secured in August 2019 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. This was in connection with funds worth £120 million.”The settlement is a civil matter and does not represent a finding of guilt,” the NCA statement emphasised.

According to details, a £50 million London home owned by Pakistani businessman (property tycoon) Riaz Malik has been seized by the National Crime Agency in a swoop on £190 million of suspected illicit wealth. 

The property, at 1 Hyde Park Place, was surrendered to law enforcers by Malik Riaz Hussai, Chairman, Bahria Town, in a court settlement. He has also given up another £140 million held in British bank accounts in what is the biggest seizure of assets by the agency so far in its purge on alleged “dirty money”.

It is worth mentioning that all the money will be returned to the state of Pakistan which is considered a major triumph of PTI Government. The NCA said it had “agreed a settlement figure with a family that owns large property developments in Pakistan and elsewhere” after an investigation.

It follows eight account freezing orders, covering £120 million, imposed by Westminster magistrates last August relating to money held by Mr Hussain. The court had approved an earlier £20 million freezing order in connection with another of his accounts.

National Crime Agency says that the £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain. In August 2019 eight account freezing orders were secured at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in connection with funds totalling around £120 million.

These followed an earlier freezing order in December 2018 linked to the same investigation for £20 million. All of the account freezing orders relate to money held in UK bank accounts.

The NCA has accepted a settlement offer in region of £190 million which includes a UK property, 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH, valued at approximately £50 million and all of the funds in the frozen accounts.
The assets will be returned to the State of Pakistan.

Malik Riaz Hussain is one of Pakistan’s richest and most powerful businessmen, a billionaire who is also well known for working on upmarket gated housing communities and his charitable activities. Over the last year he has been fighting court action over business deals in Pakistan, but denied any wrongdoing today.

Sources insist the agreement is a civil matter and does not suggest any criminal guilt. With the assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Hussain’s lawyers would have been mindful of recent so-called McMafia orders, officially known as Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs). 

Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) secured nine freezing orders covering £140 million in funds in UK bank accounts, on the grounds that the cash may be the proceeds of crime.

It announced on Tuesday, December 03 that an agreement had been reached with Hussain to hand over the cash and ownership of the exclusive address, which overlooks Hyde Park. The assets will be given to the government of Pakistan.

Malik Riaz Hussain owns Bahria Town, which is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan and its largest privately-owned property development firm. Just two weeks before, his company advertised in London about its new project launched in Karachi to cater the attention of overseas Pakistanis.

Malik Riaz Hussain denied wrongdoing, tweeting: ‘Some habituals are twisting the NCA report 180 degrees to throw mud at me. I sold our legal & declared property in UK to pay £190M to Supreme Court Pakistan against Bahria Town Karachi.

‘NCA press release says 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 breath my last.’

The freezing orders were on the cash and assets rather than against any individual, and the settlement is a civil legal procedure that does not represent a finding of guilt.