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June 17, 2017

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A case that hasn’t seen the light of day

A case that hasn’t seen the light of day

ISLAMABAD: Although the Supreme Court has rightly held accountable Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in connection with the offshore companies, what it has done in the case of Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan has not seen the light of day.

There were more than 400 Pakistanis named in Panama Papers. Politicians, businessmen and a high court judge were among them. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was reluctant to initiate timely action because the process would remain incomplete without serving notice on the PM family, the most difficult task for politicised departments. Finally, it was done when the SC took up petitions against Sharif family in light of revelations in Panama Papers. The apex court was not duty-bound to direct investigation into the sources of income and the reasons of setting up of offshore companies. However, the name of Lahore High Court’s Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan couldn’t have gone unnoticed by the Supreme Judicial Council.

Instead of speculating about the honourable judge, people are looking towards the SJC for delivering its verdict hoping the findings will be made public as Panama Papers have been source of enormous interest. More so because Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan had been the owner/director of two offshore companies even after taking oath unlike the family claim. Any mis-declaration can have serious consequences.

For the beginners, Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan and his daughter were identified in connection with two offshore companies registered in British Virgin Islands (BVI). The record of Anrol Limited, registered on April 14, 2000, shows Farrukh Irfan Khan and Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan have served/serving as its directors. So is in the case of Tramalin Limited, registered on July 24, 2003.

Farrukh Irfan Khan was appointed Tramalin’s director on October 18, 2004, and resigned on July 1, 2012, that coincides with the replacement of his daughter, Maria Farrukh Khan, on the same date. His appointment date as Anrol’s director is November 25, 2002, from which he resigned on October 11, 2011, the record shows. He was inducted as high court judge on February 20, 2010, as declared on the LHC website, indicating that he had been running the company after becoming judge. Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan was appointed director on the day her father resigned from Anrol.

The details emerged from the offshore companies’ documents signed by the honourable judge are in contrast with the family claims. Yawar Irfan Khan, former president of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and brother of Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan, had issued a statement declaring he has resigned before induction in judiciary. “On being notified as a Judge of the Lahore High Court, Farrukh Irfan Khan, who was abroad at that time, came back to Pakistan, and before his oath as a judge divested himself and resigned from business interests, directorship/shareholding etc. held by him aboard as well as in Pakistan,” Yawar’s written statement said. However, the documents signed by the honourable judge indicate he had resigned from Tramalin in July 2012 and Anrol in October 2011, well after becoming judge in February 2010.

Anrol has been used for purchasing property in London through loan facility granted by banks. Details are as follows: Loan facility offered by Bank of Scotland on Dec 21, 2000, (Pound Sterling 303,000) was used for the purchase of the dwelling house known as Plot 13, Westwood Pembroke Road. Another facility from the same bank of GBP 341,000 was used for Plot 14, Westwood Pembroke Road. The company had also been served by directors other than Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan and her daughter before their appointments.

Yet another loan facility was signed by Anrol on August 1, 2012, with Standard Chartered (Jersey) Limited of PO Box 80, 15 Castle Street, St. Helier, Jersey, JE4 8PT. This loan of GBP 800,000 was used for the purchase of following two properties: Flat 103 and flat 104 situated at Forset Court, 104 Edgeware Road, London, W2 2RE. Activity of second company, Tramalin Ltd, has also been described by Miss Maria Farrukh Irfan Khan as “to buy property to produce a rental income”.

 

 

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