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Sharif’s sons own SPV companies to avoid taxes, court told

Sharif’s sons own SPV companies to avoid taxes, court told

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Harris on Monday continued cross-examination of the Joint Investigation Team head Wajid Zia in the Flagship Investment reference hearing.

Zia informed Accountability Judge Arshad Malik that Nawaz’s son Hassan Nawaz had told them that all the companies they owned were devised under the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) model in which each company is registered with a distinct purpose. He added that companies under this model can benefit from tax protection.

Zia said that the description Hassan provided also entailed that under this model the buyer purchases the company instead of buying a property owned by the company, which in return waives the buyer from paying stamp duty on the property.

During the argument, Zia stated that when Hassan started his business he opened several bank accounts. “Every time they approached a bank for a loan, the bank required them to open a personal account,” maintained Zia, adding that Hassan had also provided an income tax trail from 1985 to 1999 and 2009 to 2016 to the court.

Harris also questioned Zia over the inclusion of Brigadier Noman Saeed of ISI in the JIT. Saeed was also part of the committee formed to probe Dawn Leaks.

The trial against the Sharifs commenced on September 14, 2017.

On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.

Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hassan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.