‘$20m paid by Abraaj founder to buy influence for Sharifs’ – WSJ claimed

WSJ (Wall Street Journal) has alleged that the founder of Dubai-based Abraaj Group, Arif Naqvi, paid $20 million for securing the cooperation of Sharif brothers for K-Electric sale. The article published in the Wall Street Journal alleged that the amount was paid to businessman Navaid Malik with an intention that he could secure the cooperation of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif when both of them were serving as Prime Minister and Chief Minister respectively.

After reviewing the emails and documents of the company, WSJ claimed that back in October 2015, a partner at Abraaj Omar Lodhi informed Naqvi of Malik’s assurance as Shahbaz Sharif was “willing to give a strong endorsement” of the K-Electric deal to Chinese bidders.

The email revealed that the businessman said it is “important for him to share every detail with the brothers and get their blessings as well as their instructions as to how this money [$20 million] should be distributed” such as “a portion to charity” or “a portion to the election fund kitty”.

It started in February last year when an article from WSJ claimed that investors were questioning the use of their investments destined for the company’s healthcare fund. Naqvi had set up a healthcare fund by securing commitments from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other Western Institutions. The fund’s investments included Islamabad Diagnostic Centre in Pakistan and also the hospital chain Quality Care India.

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