Islamabad: Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's family has been caught in the Panama Papers row as the documents name his four close relatives as owners of an offshore company in the Bahamas.
Khan's brother Abdul Quyuim Khan, wife Hendrina, and two daughters Dina Khan and Ayesha Khan, are all shown as owners of Wahdat Ltd, a company registered in the Bahamas, the Dawn reported today.
Although the names are not part of the data released online by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Wahdat Ltd does appear on the website.
However, it has been named in the larger database obtained by the group.
The company was registered in January of 1998, months before the nuclear tests of May that year, and deregistered on December 31, 1999, shortly after the October 12 coup.
"I have never even heard the name of this company," the paper quoted Khan as saying.
"Neither did my wife and daughters. My brother, who died a few years ago, was with Habib Bank and, as you know, bankers are always up to their tricks and hanky panky," he said, without mincing words.
"My wife and daughters never signed any documents to create this company. The signatures (on the incorporation paperwork) are surely false. My brother never discussed it with me and my family only heard about this company after the Panama Papers release," he added.
The company has been shown as an intermediary of ILS Fiduciaries IOM (Ltd), registered in the Isle of Man and still active. That company has links to 611 other entities from various jurisdictions like Panama and Niue in the database, dating back to 1993, most of which are either "inactive" or "defaulted", the report said.
The ICIJ defines an intermediary as "(a) go-between for someone seeking an offshore corporation and an offshore service provider?usually a law firm or a middleman that asks an offshore service provider to create an offshore firm for a client.
Khan, the architect of Pakistan nuclear weapons, was accused by the then Army chief and president Pervez Musharraf of running a rogue proliferation network for nuclear material in 2004.
Shortly after, a recorded confession by Khan was aired in which he took sole responsibility for all the nuclear proliferation that had been revealed.
He has been under house arrest ever since 2004, although he continues to move around, make phone calls, receive visitors and write a regular column in a newspaper.