The UK High Court of Justice has granted permission to Broadsheet LLC to serve freezing orders inside Pakistan on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) headquarters and the Attorney General of Pakistan’s office in the capital after NAB’s London lawyers failed to respond to court orders over several weeks.
Broadsheet LLC had approached the High Court of Justice pleading that NAB’s erstwhile lawyers at law firm Allen & Overy were not responding to correspondence and the latest court orders.
In natural meaning, the argument was that Allen & Overy have gone off the record and are no more instructed by NAB, which also implies that the Government of Pakistan does not currently have legal representation in the ongoing litigation brought by Broadsheet LLC’s Kaveh Moussavi.
This correspondent has seen the latest court order, issued by Master Davison of the Commercial Court, which orders that Broadsheet LLC has “permission to serve the Interim Order, the application notice, and all other documents filed in support of the Claimant’s application for the Interim Order on the Defendants out of the jurisdiction at the following addresses, such service to be effected in accordance with the State Immunity Act 1978 and CPR 6.44(2):
a. First Defendant: Office of the Attorney General, 3rd Floor, Supreme Court Building, 44000 Constitution Avenue, Islamabad, Pakistan.
b. Second Defendant: Attaturk Avenue, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan.”
The Order further says that, “Pakistan may, if so advised, file and serve on Broadsheet LLC written evidence stating any grounds of objection to the Court making a final third party debt order not less than 3 days before the Hearing”.
Kaveh Moussavi, speaking to this correspondent, confirmed that he will be serving the Order inside Pakistani jurisdiction through a Pakistani law firm within this week.
“The Government of Pakistan are not paying the balance and have forced us to freeze more of their assets. They are failing to instruct their London lawyers to enter a consent order so the bank will pay over the balance of the Judgment Debt. They are failing to instruct their London lawyers to accept Service. The result is more legal costs that they incur, more interest that accumulates.”
Around three weeks ago, the UBL London branch had frozen Pakistan’s account in compliance with an order issued by the London High Court in favour of Broadsheet LLC.
UBL had informed Broadsheet LLC and the London High Court in writing that the Pakistan Government account, operated by the Pakistan High Commission in London, which had around £1 million in it, has been frozen until further orders from the London High court.
On February 15, 2021, the London High Court had frozen funds up to the value of $1,222,037.90 plus costs to be determined by the court at a hearing in June.
The UK High Court of Justice had issued the freezing order with directions that no payments shall be released to the Government of Pakistan by UBL or to any other party from the accounts held by the Pakistan government unless the judgment debt and interest of around £1 million is settled.
The order was made on the application of Broadsheet LLC after the Pakistani government failed to respond to Broadsheet over the payment of the remaining judgment debt. It had already paid around $28 million to Broadsheet at the end December 2020.