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Imran Khan and Illegal PTI Funding (Page 1)


At the height of his success, the Pakistani tycoon Arif Naqvi invited cricket superstar Imran Khan and hundreds of bankers, lawyers and investors to his walled country estate in the Oxfordshire village of Wootton for weekends of sport and drinking.


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Imran Khan bowling at Wootton


The host was the founder of the Dubai-based Abraaj Group, then one of the largest private equity firms operating in emerging markets, with billions of dollars under management. At the “Wootton T20 Cup”, over which Naqvi presided from 2010 to 2012, the main event was a cricket tournament between teams with invented names: the Peshawar Perverts or the Faisalabad Fothermuckers.

They played on an immaculate pitch amid 14 acres of formal gardens and parkland at Wootton Place, Naqvi’s 17th-century residence. Veteran cricket commentator Henry Blofeld attended along with expert umpires and film crews.

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“You can choose to play in order to impress or make a fool of yourself, or alternatively just to be an innocent bystander,” Naqvi wrote in an invitation to the event. The guests were asked to pay between £2,000 and £2,500 each to attend, with the money going to unspecified “philanthropic causes”,



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Naqvi said. It is the type of charity fundraiser repeated up and down the UK every summer. What makes it unusual is that the ultimate benefactor was a political party in Pakistan.

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The fees were paid to Wootton Cricket Ltd, which, despite the name, was in fact a Cayman Islands-incorporated company owned by Naqvi and the money was being used to bankroll Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Khan’s political party. Funds poured into Wootton Cricket from companies and individuals, including at least £2mn from a United Arab Emirates government minister who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. Pakistan forbids foreign nationals and companies from funding political parties, but Abraaj emails and internal documents seen by the Financial Times, including a bank statement covering the period between February 28 and May 30 2013 for a Wootton Cricket account in the UAE, show that both companies and foreign nationals as well as citizens of Pakistan sent millions of dollars to Wootton Cricket — before money was transferred from the account to Pakistan for the PTI. (Next Page 2)


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Posted on July 29, 2022





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