Panamagate: British Virgin Islands turn down JIT request of assistance to probe

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The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has declined to assist the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in probing alleged offences committed by the two offshore companies - Nescoll Limited and Nielson Enterprises - that control Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif family's four upscale London apartments.

The response from Sarah Potter Washington, Crown Counsel for the BVI Attorney General, came in response to a mutual legal assistance (MLA) request from JIT head Wajid Zia. The request sought assistance in the confirmation, verification and certification of certain documents, reports the Dawn.

The communication from the BVI Attorney General's Chambers is the second response to the JIT's three earlier requests.

In addition to the BVI correspondence, another letter from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani was also brought before the three-judge Supreme Court bench in sealed envelopes and was opened in the presence of both parties' counsel.

These documents were addressed to the JIT, but since the probe team has wrapped up its secretariat inside the Federal Judicial Academy, the letters were forwarded to the Supreme Court registrar.

In the first letter, the BVI law officer said that though the JIT had sought MLA assistance, it did not conform to the laws of the territory.

Explaining further, the latter said that the JIT's summary of facts did not provide any background information, which showed a nexus between these companies and any alleged offence.

The request also did not indicate clearly whether criminal investigations were ongoing or if any proceedings had commenced with respect to the companies and the beneficial owners of these companies, said the letter.

Consequently, the BVI law officer said it was unable to render any assistance in response to the JIT's request, but suggested that after these anomalies were rectified, a fresh request may be submitted for further consideration. (ANI)
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