New Pakistan PM Imran Khan tells Britain to return looted money
The former international cricketer used his first meeting with British officials since his election win, to tell the UK that he wants to secure the return his nation’s laundered money, reports the Telegraph.
In the meeting with Thomas Drew, the UK’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, Khan said it was “our firm resolve to bring back to the country the money laundered to the UK.”
Khan swept to power on a populist anti-corruption ticket and did not hold back in attacking Pakistan's establishment. He has been scathing of the political class for siphoning off money from key public sector institutions and contracts before whittling away their wealth overseas.
The issue of extracting wealth and sending it abroad has dominated Pakistan's politics since the infamous Panama Papers leak that linked former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family to offshore companies and four high-end London flats. Sharif has subsequently been sentenced to 10 years in jail on corruption charges relating to the purchase of the London flats.
Expensive property acquired through shell companies in weakly regulated jurisdictions has long been a favourite way to hide ill-gotten wealth for the likes of kleptocrats and mafia members.
New UK anti-corruption legislation, created to target oligarchs and international criminals, could be utilized to freeze or seize property and assets if there is evidence it was bought with illegal or unidentified wealth.
A spokesman for the British High Commission said: “Tackling corruption is a UK government priority and we will continue to work constructively with Pakistan on this issue.”
He insisted Britain has robust laws “for the recovery of illicit assets where there is evidence to do so.”
The meeting also discussed British aid to the country.
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