Sunday Jan 24 2021

$2m to Zafar Ali QC was fee, not bribe: says Broadsheet LLC owner

LONDON: The Broadsheet CEO Kaveh Moussavi has said that he was approached first by Barrister Zafar Ali QC and Doctor Kersten Pucks with the offer to work jointly for a new contract with the Imran Khan administration - claiming they had influential contacts in Pakistan’s power corridors who will help seal the deal.

Kaveh Moussavi spoke to this reporter after Zafar Ali QC, Dr Kersten Pucks, and Shahid Iqbal issued a “Declaration of Facts” rebutting his claims in interviews and in the leaked “Moussavi Document,” which revealed that Zafar Ali QC and others met PM Imran Khan’s government to strike a new deal and to get the US$29 million paid. Zafar Ali QC has said that Kaveh Moussavi offered him a bribe of US$2 million in exchange for getting the money paid by the Pakistan government, which it owed to Broadsheet.

Moussavi said he didn’t offer any bribes to Zafar Ali QC but offered him “reasonable legal fees properly recorded” in exchange for services. The Broadsheet CEO said: “Zafar Ali came in as a lawyer and he was told he could receive properly recorded legal fees. He is not a government official and by definition legal fees paid to a lawyer cannot be a bribe. Doesn’t he know that? A lawyer thinks his fees is a bribe?” He said: “I didn’t know Zafar Ali from Adam. Dr Pucks brought him to me, it’s they who solicited my help. I only met them in good faith. I gave them my contract and they used it to make a new proposal for Imran Khan pitching it as their own. I met them in good faith and there’s no doubt that I was actively seeking to get my money paid by the Pakistan authorities.”

Moussavi claimed that Zafar Ali QC met him in Oxford and also offered a deal with Asif Ali Zardari. “When he came back from Pakistan, there was a final meeting at his request at the Puck’s house at which he said ‘they say in Pakistan that you are Zardari’s man. Are you Zardari’s man?’ At this, I laughed and said “whoever you are talking to in Pakistan it’s sure isn’t the intelligent people. Don’t they know that my other company IAR was pursuing Zardari? Don’t they know we froze Zardari’s mansion in the Rockwood Estate in Surrey?’ I got up and left the meeting after that.”

Moussavi accepted that the text messages and exchanges released on Geo News and The News on Wednesday and Thursday were genuine but he accused the trio of “conjuring up the document and cherry-picking it out of context,” out of hundreds of messages between them. He said the delegation – during meetings in Oxford – boasted of having influential contacts in Pakistan’s military who will help organize things. “They came to me with visible excitement that Imran Khan had arrived on the scene to clean up Pakistan. They had no expertise in detecting assets, their knowledge of tracing assets was zero.”

Moussavi said he was interested in getting his money from Pakistan but Dr Pucks, Zafar Ali and Shahid Iqbal were interested in getting a contract for themselves and offered him a partnership which he accepted in the hope that he will work as long as he’s paid for his services. He accused Dr Pucks and others of being dishonest in their dealings with him. He said Dr Pucks wanted to make money out of the new Pakistan administration as much as others did.

The trio has accused Moussavi of lying, making willful misrepresentations, and offering a cut of US$2 million in exchange for getting around US$29 million from PM Imran Khan for Broadsheet — the amount that Pakistan owed to the assets recovery firm.

The legal paper contains a copy of several messages exchanged between Moussavi and Zafar Ali QC. Last week, after Broadsheet LLC won a nearly US$65 million case against Pakistan while the contents of the “Moussavi Document” sent shockwaves reeling across the Pakistani media.

Originally published in The News