Ty­coon hands £190m to UK crime squad

Set­tle­ment in­cludes £50m home in Lon­don

Scottish Daily Mail - - City&finance - by James Salmon

A PROP­ERTY ty­coon has been forced to hand over the keys to his £50m Lon­don man­sion as part of an ex­tra­or­di­nary £190m set­tle­ment with or­gan­ised crime in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Ma­lik Riaz Hus­sain (pic­tured) and his fam­ily have been or­dered by the Na­tional Crime Agency (NCA) to re­lin­quish the vast sum in cash and as­sets amid al­le­ga­tions they are the pro­ceeds of crime.

The Hus­sain fam­ily’s crown jewel in the cap­i­tal is One Hyde Park Place (pic­tured) – a £50m, 16,000 sq ft, Grade II listed man­sion over­look­ing cen­tral Lon­don’s fa­mous park.

No de­tails were given by the NCA of the ac­cu­sa­tions against Hus­sain, who has been fight­ing court ac­tion over busi­ness deals in Pak­istan. But the as­sets were seized un­der the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act, which was used against the 22-year old niece of Syr­ian ruler Bashar al-As­sad ear­lier this year.

In Au­gust, or­ders freez­ing eight ac­counts were se­cured against Hus­sain at West­min­ster Mag­is­trates’ Court in con­nec­tion with funds to­talling around £120m. These fol­lowed a freez­ing or­der in De­cem­ber last year linked to the same in­ves­ti­ga­tion, for £20m.

The NCA said all the as­sets would be re­turned to Pak­istan, where prime min­is­ter and for­mer crick­eter Im­ran Khan is spear­head­ing an anti-cor­rup­tion probe to re­coup bil­lions of dol­lars that his govern­ment says op­po­si­tion politi­cians have stashed abroad.

Hus­sain, 65, is one of the most pow­er­ful – and rich­est – busi­ness­men in Pak­istan.

He rose from hum­ble be­gin­nings in the Pun­jab re­gion to found Bahria Town, which even­tu­ally be­came Asia’s largest pri­vately held prop­erty de­vel­oper. A new gated de­vel­op­ment out­side Islamabad fea­tures a replica of the Eif­fel Tower, the Statue of Lib­erty and a golf course.

On Twit­ter, Hus­sain lashed out at his crit­ics and fiercely de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

He said: ‘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.’

The ty­coon said that the set­tle­ment with the NCA is a ‘civil matter and does not rep­re­sent a find­ing of guilt’. He added: ‘I am a proud Pak­istani and I will re­main un­til I breathe my last.’

The lav­ish Lon­don home was pre­vi­ously owned by Hasan Nawaz Sharif, the 43year-old son of Nawaz Sharif, the 69-year-old for­mer Pak­istan prime min­is­ter who was jailed for cor­rup­tion last year. It was sold in 2016 for £42.5m.

Sharif and his fam­ily have been bat­tling al­le­ga­tions of money laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing the pur­chase of homes in Lon­don, in­clud­ing sep­a­rate lux­ury flats over­look­ing Hyde Park which were knocked to­gether to cre­ate a man­sion. This served as the home for the Sharif fam­ily when they were in Lon­don. Pros­e­cu­tors be­lieve the money used by Nawaz Sharif to bankroll the flats was ac­quired dis­hon­estly dur­ing his three terms as prime min­is­ter.

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