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Sunday Jan 08, 2012

How did Musharraf become a billionaire?

ISLAMABAD: In a successful but dubious journey from rags to riches, the former dictator and now the self pro claimed messiah of the people of Pakistan, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, has become a billionaire.

There is no indication as to who funds him and how he became fabulously rich but the retired general has accumulated billions in offshore accounts besides the property that he has already purchased in foreign lands or inside Pakistan.

Musharraf, who intends to return to Pakistan by the end of this month after seeking the required guarantees from Washington and Riyadh, has a lot of money to spend for his political campaign and his launching as “the best option for Pakistan”.

A source, having a close association with the former dictator, confided to The News that Musharraf has at least seven to ten offshore accounts in Dubai and London containing huge cash in dollars, sterling pounds and dirhams.

In his memoirs - In the Line of Fire - Musharraf admitted that he had come from a really humble background where they did not have enough money but now he pays at least half a million rupees as monthly salary to his personal staff residing inside Pakistan.

According to the source, besides having foreign bank accounts, Musharraf has also made huge saving investments abroad to earn large profits. The source said that in just one Dubai based online trading service — MMA — Musharraf had US$ 1,600,000 (Rs 145 million) last year. Musharraf’s account number, according to the source in this company, is AV77777.

In the Union National Bank, which is an investment bank in Abu Dhabi, Musharraf and his spouse Sehba Musharraf, have a joint account No 4002000304, in which the amount mid last year was almost UAE Dirhams 17,000,000 ( Rs 391 million).

In the same bank- the Union National Bank- the same duo, Mr and Mrs Musharaf have another joint account No 400200315, which is a dollar account. This particular account last year contained US$ 535,325 (Rs 48 million).

In yet another UAE Dirham account in the same financial institution — the Union National Bank — Sehba and Musharraf had almost UAE Dirhams 7,600,000 (Rs 174 million) last year. The account No is 4003006700.

In the fourth account, No 4003006711, in the Union National Bank, the duo had UAE Dirhams 8,000,000 (Rs 184 million).

In the fifth account, No 4003006722 in the same bank — the Union National Bank — Musharraf and his wife had US$ 8,000,000 (Rs 728 million).

In the sixth account, No 4003006733, Mrs Sehba Musharraf and Mr Pervez Musharraf had UAE Dirhams 8,000,000 (Rs 184 million) last year.

In the seventh account, No 4003006744, in the same Union National Bank, the duo holds UAE Dirhams 8,000,000 (Rs 184 million).

In their eighth account in the same bank — the Union National Bank Abu Dhabi — the duo had US$ 1,300,000 (Rs 118 million).

During the initial few months of his taking over as a military dictator following his coup against the Nawaz Sharif government, General Musharraf did make his wealth public, which hardly contained any cash but only some plots in different parts of the country. Musharraf claimed to be the Mr Clean of Pakistan.

How did he become a billionare is a million dollar question. The same question when asked to Musharraf’s spokesperson and his party’s information secretary Fawad Chaudhry Advocate told The News that all the accounts of Pervez Musharraf, whether abroad or in Pakistan, are declared accounts.

“There is not a single hidden bank account like Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari”, he added.

Fawad Chaudhry said that when an Army Chief retires, he gets pensionary benefits worth Rs 400 to 500 million.

Moreover, he added that Bill Clinton and Pervez Musharraf are the highest paid speakers in the world, therefore he earns a handsome amount through lectures.

He clarified that Musharraf’s bank accounts do not have billions of rupees in them.