The National Crime Agency (NCA) has agreed a settlement figure with a family that owns large property developments in Pakistan and elsewhere. The £190 million settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national whose business is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan.
In August this year, eight account freezing orders were secured at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in connection with funds totalling around £120 million. These followed an earlier freezing order in December last year linked to the same investigation for £20 million. All of the account freezing orders relate to money held in UK bank accounts.
The NCA has accepted a settlement offer in the region of £190 million which includes a UK property (1 Hyde Park Place, London W2 2LH) valued at approximately £50 million and all of the funds in the frozen accounts.
The assets will be returned to the State of Pakistan.
Commenting on this announcement, Rahman Ravelli’s legal director Syedur Rahman said: “What should be noted is that there’s no reference to the allegations against Mr Hussain in respect of the recovery. This is a case indicating one thing that has become increasingly clear. That is that the use of tools such as account freezing orders is advantageous for enforcement agencies, but it also shows what’s possible for those who are investigated.”
Rahman continued: “This matter has now been settled. In cases of this type it is imperative to understand when and at what stage you should settle. This will depend, to a very large degree, on the strength of the defence that you prepare at the very outset of your case. In such cases, good negotiating skills can lead to a sensible outcome for both parties, but what has to be remembered is that you cannot negotiate unless you’re willing to challenge the validity of the allegations made by the NCA. This is precisely why the most important factor is preparation. It’s always difficult to enter into negotiations if you don’t understand every single aspect of your case or haven’t assessed fully what the NCA’s position is in the proceedings.”
In conclusion, Rahman observed: “Good negotiations with the NCA require careful planning, appropriate drafting skills – as most of the time it will be done in writing – and the ability to call on options and/or walk away if necessary.”