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Britain to freeze Bhutto assets

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    Britain to freeze Bhutto assets

    While we mull over the decision to pardon and exile Nawaz Sharif we must not lose sight of the great successes the government is having in the accountability drive.

    Great Britain is about to freeze BB's assets. So it looks like she will be taking up permanenet residence in the Middle East as well?

    Straw to freeze Bhutto assets as theft inquiry gathers pace

    JACK STRAW, the Home Secretary, is to freeze the British assets of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, and order the police to help the Pakistani authorities recover money allegedly stolen by her and her husband.
    The Telegraph has discovered that a team of senior Home Office civil servants met representatives of the military regime in Islamabad in November and agreed to offer full assistance.

    There is also a warrant out in Pakistan for the arrest of Miss Bhutto. Asif Ali Zardari, her husband, has been in prison for four years awaiting trial on corruption charges. There are fears in Pakistan that details of the couple's assets in Britain could result in prosecutors bringing new charges and seeking the death penalty against Mr Zardari.

    Charles Clarke, the Home Office minister, said that Home Office officials met the Pakistani regime's representative, General Amjad, in Britain in September to "explore the scope of assistance available" to recover funds that Islamabad alleges have been misappropriated.

    He added: "On November 13, the head of the United Kingdom Central Authority, the section within the Home Office that deals with letters of request from overseas, travelled to Pakistan for a five-day visit to meet prosecutors, judges and officials of the National Accountability Bureau and provide advice on the assistance the United Kingdom can offer and on our requirements in terms of letters of request."

    Last night Miss Bhutto, who now lives in the Middle East, said: "I am in the dark about the matter of assets and any investigation." A spokesman for Miss Bhutto insisted that the only thing she owned in Britain was a small flat. He admitted that she had recently decided to leave Britain where she had been living in exile. A Foreign Office official said: "Our understanding is she has left because of fears that the net is closing on her."

    According to a report completed in October by Pakistan's anti-corruption investigators, Miss Bhutto and her husband have amassed more than 1 billion in assets overseas.The couple allegedly hold 26 bank accounts and 14 properties including a 2.5 million house called Rockwood, near Haslemere in Surrey, four houses in London, a stud farm in Texas and two houses in France. Farouk Adam, chief prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau, said: "We have 22,000 pages of documents that show irrevocable proof that these properties and bank accounts belong to Benazir Bhutto and her husband."

    Miss Bhutto, whose party recently entered an alliance with all Pakistan's main political parties to try to bring down the military, insists the investigation is just political victimisation. Her spokesman said: "Just listing properties does not mean they are hers. The flat she was living in in Kensington belongs to her sister and the one she moved to was rented."

    If Miss Bhutto were to go back to Pakistan she would be arrested immediately, having been sentenced to five years in absentia last year on bribery charges. Her husband is also accused of drug-related offences and involvement in the murder of Miss Bhutto's brother, Muzthaza.

    Miss Bhutto was elected president of the Oxford Union in 1977, after studying at Lady Margaret Hall for three years. She has always described Britain as her second home, and once said that Oxford was her "intellectual and spiritual centre". She lived in Britain in exile in the Eighties and is thought to have asked for asylum.

    Her spokesman claimed that she left because "she wanted to be with her mother who is ill and also she had had threats from fundamentalist groups". Britain began the investigation into the assets of Miss Bhutto and her husband in 1998, two years after she was sacked as prime minister on charges of corruption and misrule.

    Yeah...first see then believe!

    BB says that she has only one rented flat in Britian. If the minister confiscate that then he might run into trouble. LOL

    Sarfraz Khan