Muhammad Tahir Lakhani, the controversial Pakistani-British tycoon who along with his two sons Muhammad Ali Lakhani and Muhammad Hasan Lakhani, were recently exposed in a high-profile British High Court fraud case in 2020 and ordered to return $77 million.
Muhammad Tahir Lakhani is continuing their criminal activities in the UK by dodging taxes and laundering money through the purchase of luxury properties in London and elsewhere via a complex web of off-shore corporations and shell companies. Mr. Lakhani and his sons (all of whom are UK citizens) are said to be deploying the same methods as Russian Oligarchs laundering illicit funds and hiding their ownership of British properties from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC, the British national tax authority) and the British National Crime Agency (NCA).
Over the past three months the BBC has published stories exposing sanctioned Russian Oligarchs who “hire the best lawyers, auditors, bankers, and lobbyists in the world to develop legal means to conceal and launder their funds.”
A recent forensic examination of UK properties conducted by investigative agencies reveals Muhammad Tahir Lakhani and his two sons, Ali and Hasan, are all using the same mechanisms as these Russian oligarchs who create.
A case in point is a property located at 612 Watford Way, Mill Hill, NW7 3JH, a posh neighborhood just outside London. According to UK land registry records, Muhammad Tahir Lakhani is the beneficial owner of the property, which was originally purchased for £ 1.065 million in April of 2008, by an offshore company called Star Property Investments Ltd, registered on the island of Nevis (one of the world’s major tax havens) located in the Caribbean.
The island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis is categorized by the US State Department as a “Country/Jurisdiction of Primary Concern in respect of Money Laundering and Financial Crimes”.
Further investigations into Nevis and the UK into Star Properties Ltd. have revealed that a legal charge document filed with the UK land registry in August of 2013 lists a Nicholas C. Dean (“Dean”) as president and director of Star Property, and an Eric Rivera (“Rivera”) as co-director and secretary of the company.
Mr. Dean is also the CEO of Monaco-registered Monte Carlo Maritime Services SARL. His murky relationship with the family of Muhammad Tahir Lakhani increases further by the fact that he was also appointed in 2009 as General Manager of the DTA Group in Dubai, which is owned by Muhammad Ali Lakhani.
Mr. Dean is also the co-owner of a DTA Group subsidiary registered in Singapore along with Muhammad Hasan Lakhani. This may sound confusing to any reader who may be unfamiliar with how these complex business structures work, but, in layman terms, Mr. Dean is a ‘nominee’ of Muhammad Tahir Lakhani’s who is paid well to create business entities that allow the Lakhani family members to launder money and illegally avoid paying taxes.
A story published by the BBC last week details how the NCA tracks down ‘nominees’ and ‘enablers’ (like Mr. Dean) who helped Russian Oligarchs hide their assets and maintain their luxurious properties in the UK.
Other aspects of the property at 612 Watford Way in Mill Hill highlight how Muhammad Tahir Lakhani, his wife Uneza, and sons Hasan, and Ali are breaking UK laws. All the Lakhani family members are listed on the electoral roll as residing at 612 Watford Way and are therefore entitled to vote in local council and national elections.
In reality, the Tahir Lakhani family lives in Dubai. This is considered a serious criminal offence in the UK. In another shadowy maneuver, Muhammad Ali Lakhani created a company in 2009 called ‘Park Investments (London) Limited’ that listed 612 Watford Way, Mill Hill, NW7 3JH, as its nominal correspondence address.
The filing history of this company, which was dissolved due to dormancy in 2014, is easy to check by logging on to the UK government company register site. It seems that Muhammad Ali Lakhani has been very busy over the years creating companies that sit in a dormant status, no doubt to undertake the dubious business dealings of the Lakhani family.
According to information obtained on the UK government website Tahir Lakhani’s son Ali has been associated with the following companies: Director of Gulfstar Agencies Limited (company registration # 07880164), which is now in liquidation, Director of Retro Foods and Hospitality Limited (company registration # 07082435), which is now dissolved, and Director of Park Investments (London) Limited (company registration # 06939624), which is also dissolved.
Muhammad Hasan Lakhani, like his brother Ali, has also been engaging in illegal activities on his many property holdings in the UK. For example, Hasan owns a flat located at 54 Forset Court, Edgware Road, which is in the swank Westminster district of London. A recent investigation (confirmed by UK land registry records) revealed that Hasan purchased the property for £160,000. But in an asset declaration form that Hasan signed for the land registrar records in April of 2020, he estimated the value of this property to be only £100,000, thereby severely undervaluing the respective property.
Hasan probably did this to lessen the local council taxes he would have to pay for the flat, which in Westminster are astronomical compared to other council taxes in the UK. Current online valuations of Hasan’s flat range anywhere between £230,000 and £450,000. Intentionally undervaluing property values in order to scam on taxes in the UK is a serious criminal offense punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
The courts in the UK have issued an international seize of all properties owned or controlled by the Muhammad Tahir Lakhani and his sons.
As the investigations into Muhammad Tahir Lakhani continue, an enormous amount of information and evidence about the illegal activities of his companies and the complicit roles that his sons Muhammad Ali Lakhani and Muhammad Hasan Lakhani play in his criminal empire are emerging.
Recent media articles about the Lakhani family’s fraudulent business deals in the UAE and the key role that Mr. Lakhani’s ‘DTA Group’ played in orchestrating the international fraud that resulted in the aforementioned $77 million USD UK High Court ruling in October 2020, have elevated this scandal to a global level.
One thing for now is certain. Mr. Lakhani and his sons’ days of jet-setting between London and Dubai, defrauding private investors and the governments of the UK and the UAE with impunity, are quickly coming to an end. The only question that remains is whether Mr. Lakhani and his sons will be imprisoned for their crimes in the UK or in the UAE.