Broadsheet’s money laundering revelation ‘tip of iceberg’: PM Imran

ISLAMABAD: A day after the government announced a ministerial probe into the claims of money laundering on a massive scale made by the chief of a United Kingdom-based asset recovery firm, Prime Minister Imran on Wednesday termed the revelations as “tip of the iceberg”.

Broadsheet LLC, registered in the Isle of Man, was hired in 2000 by the government of President Pervez Musharraf to track down foreign assets acquired by the country’s political elite, including the Sharif family, through alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Last week, an interview of now-defunct firm’s chief executive officer (CEO) Kaveh Moussavi accusing deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif of approaching him through a frontman with a bribe to drop the probe into his foreign assets made a splash in the media.

In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Imran said that the same elite had earlier been exposed by the 2016 Panama Papers.

“Now Broadsheet revelations have again exposed the massive scale of our ruling elites corruption & money laundering,” he said and added: “These elites cannot hide behind the ‘victimisation’ card on these international revelations”.

The premier noted that the revelations exposed what he had been saying in his “24-year fight against corruption” which he said was “the biggest threat to the country’s progress”.

“These elites come to power & plunder the country. They do money laundering to stash their ill-gotten gains abroad, safe from domestic prosecution. Then they use their political clout to get NROs.” he said. “That is how they kept their plundered wealth safe.”

Imran further noted that as a consequence [of this plunder of public coffers], the nation suffered.

“Not only is the nation’s wealth stolen by the elites, taxpayer money, paid for recovering this wealth, is wasted because of NROs. These revelations [are the] tip of the iceberg,” he said, demanding “complete transparency from Broadsheet on our elites’ money laundering and on who stopped investigations”.

The tweets come days after Moussavi, during an interview with a UK-based web channel of a Pakistan national, claimed of being in possession of evidence of money laundering by some other Pakistan nationals while accusing Sharif of exerting influence on the accountability process.

During a press conference Tuesday, Minister for Information and Broadcast Senator Shibli Faraz said that Moussavi’s claims had validated Prime Minister Imran’s longstanding belief of previous “corrupt” rulers looting the country.

Faraz further said that the government hoped to share the committee’s findings into the claims with the public soon.

The committee, he said, would look into how the country’s wealth was looted, as well as whether a cousin of Sharif [Anjum Dar] had tried to get the assets recovery firm to stop its probe into his accounts.

“We don’t deal with crooks,” the information minister quoted Moussavi as saying. He also reiterated Moussavi’s claim that a list of 200 names had been given to the firm for investigation, but it was subsequently slashed without explanation.

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