27 Jul

Pakistan’s cricket team might find itself in an awkward situation if bailiffs move to seize its equipment and other assets during its UK tour according to a report in The News (International) today (27 July).

The long running saga that began in 1999 when General Pervez Musharraf established the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate corruption allegations against public officials in the wake of a military coup that deposed Sharif as prime minister.

Isle of Man-registered Broadsheet LLC entered into the agreement with NAB in the following year, in which it agreed to help track down assets of Sharif and more than 200 other politicans, generals and officials at its own expense in return for 20% of any sums recovered from the designated targets.

NAB terminated the agreement in 2003 but Broadsheet said it later learned that NAB had entered into settlements with Sharif and other targets without notifying it. The company said the agreement entitled it to a commission on any settlement with the targets, even if Broadsheet was not involved in procuring them.

Broadsheet won the arbitration case against the state of Pakistan and the NAB, and has already sought court orders instructing professional bailiffs “to seize the assets of the Pakistani cricket team" and their action will commence in two days.

In a letter sent to Islamabad's counsel, Allen & Overy, the company has argued that the state of Pakistan and NAB have failed to pay the award money it owes, more than $33 million. On top of that they have also refused to engage in any such correspondence for months.

"The Pakistan cricket team is currently in the UK preparing for a Test series against England," the letter sent by Broadsheet LLC says, "We consider that the team is, by the very nature, an asset of the defendant and that monies due to the team and assets of the team are assets of the defendant to the litigation." It further asks Pakistan's counsel that if they disagree with the position then they should respond soon or otherwise the company will enforce the warning.

In July 2019 Pakistan lost the case against Broadsheet LLC, as its plea was dismissed by the London High Court. As claimants, the NAB and the state of Pakistan, had appealed to review the award decision. Broadsheet LLC. was hired by the NAB during former President Pervez Musharraf's regime to investigate hidden assets of over 150 Pakistanis abroad including the Sharif family. The agreement was terminated by the NAB in 2003, after which Pakistan owed damages to the company.

By September 2019, the company reached out to the London High Court to help recover the award money from Islamabad. In its application Broadsheet LLC requested the court for "permission under Section 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to enforce" awards since Pakistan has failed to pay up the penalty imposed by the International Arbitration Court. It was underlined that the award was final and had not been complied with asking the court to apply interest in the judgment at a daily rate of almost $5,000.

The News had already reported that besides going after Pakistan's assets abroad, the company was also considering seizing the Avenfield apartments, the Pakistan High Commission building, and the high commissioner's house in London as well as the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

John Stephenson


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