Wednesday Jan 20, 2021
LONDON: The state of Pakistan is assessing the mega loss of reputation and $65 million in litigation to the Broadsheet LLC that was formed with just £200 but one person who laid the foundation of this mess is Tariq Fawad Malik, a Lahore textile trader, who was able to convince General (retired) Amjad, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman in 2000, that he could help Pakistan bring back the “looted wealth” from overseas.
It was a flashy marketing brochure making wild claims about assets recovery that Mr Tariq Fawad Malik, a former Air Force (PAF) Pilot Officer dismissed from the service over fraud offences, showed to General Amjad, arranged a scripted visit to Colorado to win him over his trust and the rest is history.
Geo News has obtained key information about Tariq Fawad Malik (TFM), who in 1999 was working in Lahore for Ghazanfar Sadiq Ali and running a small textile unit in rented premises at Bhatta Chowk, Lahore.
Tariq Fawad Malik approached the NAB authorities and Gen Amjad through his father-in-law, retired Lt. Gen Naeem. A highly intelligent man, Tariq Malik convinced Gen Amjad to hire the services of Jerry James and Dr Pepper who were running asset recovery firm Trouvons LLC - a company (French for ‘finders’) that claimed to specialise in assets tracing and investigations.
Sir Anthony Evan’s 2016 Arbitration judgment makes repeated references to both Gen Amjad and Tariq Fawad Malik. Tariq Fawad Malik, according to Gen Amjad’s witness statement before Sir Evans, met him in October 1999 as a representative of Trouvons LLC. TFM asked Gen Amjad whether NAB was interested in hiring a foreign company for “the speedy recovery of assets taken and held outside Pakistan”. Gen Amjad showed interest and a visit was arranged immediately in April 2000 to Trouvon’s office in Colorado USA for the assessment.
During the visit, Gen Amjad met Mr Jerry James and Dr Pepper as representatives of Trouvons, where the duo were able to convince the visiting NAB boss that they had the requisite capabilities and resources to help NAB and that NAB would have no financial exposure.
Broadsheet was incorporated in the Isle of Man on 28th May 2000 as a shell company by two Panamanian companies named Oxford International Holdings and Berkshire Holdings, each contributing £100 and the ultimate beneficial owner was a US Colorado businessman Jimmy James and his business associates.
Broadsheet at that time had no staff, no employees and no offices and was just a few weeks old incorporation in the Isle of Man (IoM) when NAB signed the deal. After the agreement was signed, within Pakistan, Broadsheet established a small team, who were accommodated rent-free in NAB’s office in Islamabad and Tariq Malik had his office there with two assistants.
According to Sir Evan’s judgment, Mr James at that time was part owner of Colorado Company Trouvons LLC, whose business included the kind of investigations and recovery of assets that NAB would require to be carried out.
On 20th June 2000, the Assets Recovery Agreement (ARA) was signed by Dr Pepper on behalf of Broadsheet and by Gen Amjad on behalf of NAB on the understanding that Trouvons would undertake the work of investigation and recovery of asset on behalf of NAB internationally, outside Pakistan.
Tariq Malik was witness-signatory along with Farooq Adam, Prosecutor General NAB, to the deal between NAB and Broadsheet-respectively represented by Gen Amjad and DR Pepper. After NAB unilaterally terminated the deal with Broadsheet in 2003, Tariq Malik kept on pursuing a settlement from 2004-2007, arguing that Broadsheet will sue for damages.
Using the offices among others of then Secretary National Security Tariq Aziz, Tariq Malik kept on pushing for a “modest” settlement of around $2 million warning that Broadsheet would sue, shared a source who dealt with the case at that time.
While Malik’s efforts went on, the partnership of Dr Pepper and Jerry James fell apart and Broadsheet LLC (signatory with NAB) was dissolved. TFM allied himself with junior partner Jerry James and without informing Dr Pepper (Chairman/signatory to original deal with NAB) registered a new Broadsheet and became its authorised representative in Pakistan. NAB made a settlement of $1.5 million to Tariq Malik and Jerry James in 2008.
In 2009, when Dr Pepper, the Chairman/CEO of original Broadsheet found out, he initiated legal proceedings against NAB for settlement with the actual company that had provided services to NAB.
Sir Anthony’s judgment mentions that Tariq Malik was amongst the signatories on the payment dated 20th May 2008 for £320,622 payable to Broadsheet Gibralter, a misnomer.
Kaveh Moussavi told the court in evidence that there was no communication between him and Jerry James after mid 2005 and that he had no knowledge of Mr James negotiations with NAB or of the settlement agreement and the payments made under it.
The defence alleged that representations were made to NAB duri6ng its negotiations with five individuals who were representing Trouvons Company LLC, Colorado USA. They were Mr James, Ronald Rudman, Dr Pepper, Mr Ghazanfar Ali and Tariq Fawad Malik.
A meeting was held in London on 21st September, 2002 attended by Gen Hafiez, Mr James and Tariq Malik. At the meeting, NAB complained about absence of reports, lack of progress but the Broadsheet said large sums were available to be collected but the NAB wasn't cooperating. It’s at that meeting where Mr James and Gen Hafiez agreed that the agreement wasn’t working.
According to Sir Evan’s judgment, NAB wrote on 15th September, 2003 to Tariq Malik complaining that there was no progress on the targets registered with Broadsheet. The contract was broken soon afterwards.
Ultimately the UK arbitration went against Pakistan and now payment of almost $30 million has been made in December 2020 and the total cost to Pakistan is over $65 million.
Ghazanfar Sadiq Ali died in Dubai many years ago and Tariq Fawad Malik took over many of his assets and operations. Jerry James died in Paris of suicide in 2011 as he was under stress over fraud allegations. Sources shared that Tariq Malik absconded from Pakistan in 2007, leaving behind uncleared debts. He has since been living in Dubai with his wife and two teenage sons. Tariq Malik was not available to comment. His Dubai number was switched off.
Originally published in The News