London (July 07, 2018): Following the sentencing of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on corruption charges related to four London properties, the Transparency International urged the UK government to investigate those assets and no longer provide a safe haven for Sharif and his family.
Transparency International demanded in a statement that if UK investigation concludes that the properties have been bought with corrupt money, then the authorities should move to seize the assets. Transparency International also calls on UK law enforcement to investigate any further property in the UK owned by the Sharif family.
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Sharif was sentenced to ten years in prison for owning assets beyond his income, whilst his daughter received seven years for her role.
In 2016 the Panama Papers exposed links between several members of the Sharif family and offshore companies that were allegedly used to purchase London property. The court ruling ordered the confiscation of these properties for the Government of Pakistan.The UK Government has consistently said it aims to crack down on the laundering of corrupt funds through the UK, although recent media reports suggest that the authorities failed to properly assist Pakistani counterparts during this investigation.Rachel Davies Teka, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK said, “We are calling on the UK authorities to investigate the London-based assets identified in this conviction and ensure that Sharif and his family are no longer able to enjoy any luxury homes that are found to have been bought with the proceeds of corruption. Furthermore we believe the UK must look into any other potentially criminal UK based assets owned by the Sharif family.”She said, “This will serve as an important test as to how serious the Government is on cracking down on the prevalence of corrupt money in our capital. The laundering of dirty money is not confined to Russian oligarchs and it is important that we target illicit assets wherever they originate from.”Rachel Davies Teka further said that the recent passing of legislation that will require British Overseas Territories to publicly reveal the true owners of companies is a key step towards preventing the purchase of UK property with suspicious wealth.
She continued,” The UK must now ensure it follows through on this legislation, so that we no longer need to rely on leaks like the Panama Papers to reveal cases such as this one.”