A day after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) denied that the party’s chairman Imran Khan owned a London flat through an offshore company, the PTI chief himself admitted that he formed an offshore company to buy the London flat in 1983 to “evade British taxes”.
Speaking to reporters at London Heathrow Airport, Imran said he formed the offshore firm on the advice of his accountant to evade taxes during his playing days to buy a flat in London.
“I was already paying 35 per cent tax on my income there, so to evade further taxes, I bought the flat through an offshore firm, which was my right as I was not a British citizen,” Imran told the reporters.
Meanwhile, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq also admitted that his party chief had formed a ‘legal’ offshore company through his earnings from cricket, which owned his London flat.
While speaking on a TV talk show, PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq took back his earlier denial.
“I was Imran Khan’s bank manager in London at that time, his accountants formed this company to buy the London flat,” said the PTI spokesman.
He added that when the flat was sold, Imran brought the money to Pakistan through Habib Bank.
Answering a question about Imran Khan’s tax returns and this offshore firm, Haq said he will “reveal the details to the media on Saturday after talking to Imran Khan’s accountant”.
In an interview published in a local daily a day before, Haq was quoted as saying Imran Khan himself owned the flat and it was not bought by an offshore company.
The report published in the paper stated that a ‘Benami’ offshore firm ‘Niazi Services Limited’ owned Imran Khan’s flat in South Kensington, London.
According to the paper, the offshore firm was established for ‘sporting consultancy’ and was active till 2005. The London flat was however sold on March 17, 2003.
When asked why he denied the existence of the offshore company earlier, Haq simply said he forgot.
Imran Khan confesses to existence of off-shore company
My leader's – Imran Khan's – name is also in the 630 Pakistanis who have been named in the Panama Papers. I was so upset and worried that my hero was among those who have been identified in the 'culprits' who have saved money at the cost of the country. I was sure this was a lie and an attempt to hut my leader.
And it was going to be embarrassing for me to continue criticizing other people who had been name in the Panama Papers when my own leader's name was on it. And to add to this, Imran Khan had been asking that these people be dealt with
However, it was such a relief when Imran Khan himself accepted that he had a flat in London and an off-shore company explaining that since he was not a British national he wanted to save on paying the huge taxes which is why he had to form this company. And now after so much debate we know that all off-shore companies were not illegal.
Imran Khan bought the flat with his own money that he earned playing county cricket – for which he had already paid a lot of tax – and so he rightly tried to save some money. There is nothing wrong with that. Why don't the other leaders try to be a little more honest than they are now? If Imran can do it, they can at least try.
Not to worry Kazim. Ek chori aur sina Zori – like doing NS & Co including his darbaris. Accepting the blame, even if not illegal, is in itself honesty. The difference is neither the money was earned in Pakistan nor transferred illegally like do Pakistanis. The basic issue is, source of income and method of transferring money out of Pakistan evading tax. Most Pakistanis, specially those heading political parties ( or their accomplices/dependents) are main culprits. And they must face the music.
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