How a charity cricket league in UK helped funnel millions to Imran Khan’s party

NEW DELHI: Has Pakistani magnate? Arif Naqvic help funnel millions of dollars into Imran Khan’s PTIA? A new report may have blown the lid on a long-kept secret regarding the finances of the former Pakistani prime minister’s political party, which has been under the scanner of the election commission for many years.
A report in the Financial Times alleges that Naqvi, a prominent Pakistani businessman and founder of the Dubai-based Abraaj Group, hosted a cricket tournament at his estate in the Oxfordshire village of Wootton from 2010 to 2012, using the proceeds from the charitable fundraisers. to finance Imran’s party.
The report says Naqvi transferred as many as three installments directly to Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2013, amounting to a total of $2.12 million.
According to the UK-based publication, the guests who took part in the “Wootton T20 Cup” were asked to pay between £2,000 and £2,500 each to participate. The money apparently went to unspecified “philanthropic causes”.
The report said the fees were paid to Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands and owned by Naqvi, and that the money was used to fund Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Notably, Imran himself was invited to take part in the competition along with many PTI members, and was even “persuaded to get on the pitch” at Wootton.
“Funds poured into Wootton Cricket from businesses and individuals, including at least £2 million from a United Arab Emirates minister who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family,” the FT report said.
The report alleges that Naqvi exchanged emails with a colleague about transferring $1.2 million more to the PTI.
Six days after the $2 million arrived in Wootton Cricket bank account, Naqvi transferred $1.2 million to Pakistan in two installments. Rafique Lakhani, Abraaj’s senior executive in charge of cash flow management , wrote in an email to Naqvi that the transfers were intended for the PTI,” the report said.
The explosive claims in the report come at a time when the ousted Imran Khan is struggling at home in the alleged banned financing case.
Political parties in Pakistan are not allowed to receive funding from foreigners and companies.
According to Pakistan-based Geo TV, the Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) has been investigating the party’s funding since 2014, when founder Akbar S Babar alleged major irregularities in the party’s finances, including funding from outside Pakistan.
While the case is finalized, the date of the verdict has yet to be announced by the polling station.
It was previously reported that Naqvi had financed Imran Khan’s political party. However, the actual source of the money was never revealed.
Meanwhile, in response to questions from FT, Imran Khan wrote back that he had gone to “a fundraising event attended by many PTI supporters”.
The FT report described the time as “critical” for Khan to raise funds ahead of the 2013 general election due in May.
According to the publication, Naqvi worked closely with other Pakistani businessmen to raise money for his campaign, Geo News reported.

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