The world’s religions face a post-pandemic reckoning

Published on: 28/05/2022 | Comments: No comments 

Ask a vicar, a rabbi or an imam about the biggest challenge facing his or her congregation, and the need to foster spiritual values in a secular world may leap off the tongue. Yet the world’s religions face an equally acute but different sort of problem: how to stay in business in a material, competitive sense. In religion as elsewhere, covid-19 has helped sort out winners and losers. Churches that were catering effectively to the needs of their flocks even before the pandemic have often thrived as people worry more about death—and in lockdown have found more time to spare for worship and prayer.

But churches that were already struggling have found it ever harder to retain their congregations. The pandemic has speeded a shift to online services, giving many of the once faithful an excuse to stop showing up. Many religious institutions closed their doors overnight, moving their services onto Zoom. .. Read complete story from Source

Complete list of imported items that Pakistan has banned

Published on: 20/05/2022 | Comments: No comments 

.. by  Zakir Ahmed 

The government has banned the import of non-essential and luxury items to stabilize the fast depleting foreign exchange reserves and rising import bill, as part of measures that a minister claimed would save $6 billion.

The announcement was made by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb at a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday.

Automobiles and mobile phones are among the notable products whose import has been banned. The complete list of items includes:

  1. Mobile Phones
  2. Home Appliances
  3. Fruits and Dry Fruits (except from Afghanistan)
  4. Crockery
  5. Private Weapons & Ammunition
  6. Shoes
  7. Chandeliers & Lighting (except Energy Savers)
  8. Headphones & Loudspeakers
  9. Sauces, Ketchup etc.
  10. Doors and Window Frames
  11. Travelling Bags and Suitcases
  12. Sanitary ware
  13. Fish & Frozen Fish
  14. Carpets (except from Afghanistan)
  15. Preserved Fruits
  16. Tissue Paper
  17. Furniture
  18. Shampoos
  19. Automobiles
  20. Confectionary
  21. Luxury mattresses & sleeping bags
  22. Jams & Jelly
  23. Cornflakes
  24. Bathroom ware / Toiletries
  25. Heaters / Blowers
  26. Sunglasses
  27. Kitchen ware
  28. Aerated water
  29. Frozen Meat
  30. Juices
  31. Pasta etc.
  32. Ice cream
  33. Cigarettes
  34. Shaving Goods
  35. Luxury Leather Apparel
  36. Musical Instruments
  37. Saloon items like hair dryers etc.
  38. Chocolates
The minister said that the steps taken by the government will also help reduce the growing current account deficit. She added that the key objective of these measures is to reduce the country’s reliance on imports and introduce an export-oriented policy to promote the local industry in the country.

The minister announced that the government is preparing a plan to promote local manufacturers so that employment opportunities are generated.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a tweet said that the decision to ban the import of luxury items will save the country precious foreign exchange. The premier added that financially stronger people must lead in this effort so that the less privileged among us do not have to bear this burden inflicted on them by the previous government.

PTI’s reaction

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Hammad Azhar questioned the decision to ban imports of certain items and said that the items only made up a small percentage of the country’s total import bill.

“Non-oil current account deficit stands at just under $1 billion. These measures to ban items will be inconsequential,” the minister said in a tweet.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s import bill has surged to $65.5 billion in the first ten months of the current fiscal year, up from $44.73 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan are also down to a 23-month low.

.. Source

Shocking report reveals Pakistan’s super rich own property worth trillions in Dubai

Published on: 19/05/2022 | Comments: 3 comments 

.. by Jehangir Nasir 

While the long-standing structural weaknesses of Pakistan’s economy continue to scare away foreign investments, data suggests the country’s super-rich owns over 38,000 properties worth $10.6 billion (Rs. 2.078 trillion) in Dubai’s offshore real estate market.

According to a research paper, “Who Owns Offshore Real Estate? Evidence from Dubai” written by Annette Alstadsæter (NMBU) Bluebery Planterose (EU Tax Observatory), Gabriel Zucman (UC Berkeley and EU Tax Observatory), and Andreas Økland (NMBU), about half of the offshore Dubai real estate is owned by individuals from India, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Other large investors in absolute terms include Canada, Russia, and the United States.

The paper analyzed nearly 800,000 properties in Dubai and made several interesting observations. It notes that offshore real estate in Dubai is massive, with at least $146 billion in foreign wealth invested in the property market. A deeper breakdown of the data suggests that the total market value of properties in Dubai at USD 533 billion in 2020, of which about 27 percent is foreign-owned.

The main owners of Dubai real estate in absolute terms are large neighboring countries (such as India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia) and a number of large, often English-speaking economies (United Kingdom, United States, Canada, China, Germany and France).

About 20 percent of the real estate is owned by investors from India and 10 percent by investors from the United Kingdom. Other large investing countries include Pakistan, Gulf countries, Iran, Canada, Russia, and the United States.

These patterns hold when focusing on the most affluent neighborhoods, with the main difference that Indian investments become relatively smaller and Russian investments larger. Third, a number of conflict-ridden countries and autocracies have large holdings in Dubai relative to the size of their economy, equivalent to 5–10 percent of their GDP. This suggests that the official net foreign asset position of a number of low-income economies is significantly under-estimated.

Similarly, geographical proximity and historic ties are important determinants of foreign investments in Dubai. The bulk of foreign-owned properties in Dubai belongs to owners from the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. The largest foreign owners (both by the aggregate value of properties owned and by the number of owners) are Indian nationals.

About 35,000 Indians own Dubai properties, worth almost USD 30 billion (20 percent of total offshore Dubai real estate). The United Kingdom comes next (23,000 unique owners, with properties worth USD 15 billion, 10 percent of the total).

The remaining top countries by aggregate values include countries in the wider Middle Eastern and Central Asia region (e.g., Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, and Russia) and large economies (e.g., Canada, United States, and China).

About 8 percent of offshore Dubai real estate belongs to owners from the European Union. These patterns remain when we focus on the most affluent neighborhoods, where the share of real estate owned by foreigners is particularly large, around half. The main difference is that while India remains the largest owner, its share of foreign-owned real estate falls, while the share of Russia is multiplied by two, to reach 6 percent in the most expensive districts.

Generally, there has long been a concern that real estate is used for money laundering and hiding wealth from tax authorities. However, to date, there has been very little data to quantify this issue, as most estimates of offshore wealth focus on financial assets. This finding illustrates the limitation of the current forms of international information exchange and suggests that additional policies—such as information sharing on the owners of real estate —may be required to create transparency and curb tax evasion through offshore financial centers. .. Source

Pakistani bank CEOs having huge salaries

Published on: 02/05/2022 | Comments: No comments 

..  by Abdul Rahman 

Pakistan’s banking sector remains progressive and profitable despite the critical challenges to its economy. Inflationary pressure and external sector payments risks are the key causes of building macroeconomic imbalances in the country

Here is an overview of Pakistan’s top bankers and their salaries.

1. Shahzad Dada — United Bank Limited

The CEO and President of United Bank Limited (UBL), Shahzad Dada, is the highest-paid banker in the country. He drew an overall income of Rs. 340 million in 2021, including a salary of Rs. 232 million and a special reward of Rs. 108 million.

He took charge of the bank last year, replacing Sima Kamal, who is now the Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. Under his brief leadership, UBL’s profit surged by a staggering Rs. 10 billion to reach Rs. 30.6 billion in 2021. It also improved its ranking from fifth place to third in terms of profit with a very close competition with MCB Bank which recorded a profit of Rs. 30.8 billion in the same year.

Dada has spent a longer period in foreign banks, including Barclays Bank and Deutsche Bank, and came into the limelight as one of the top bankers within a few years. He joined Standard Chartered Bank in 2014 and led it toward phenomenal growth in terms of profitability and operational growth during his stay until the mid of 2020

2. Irfan Siddiqui — Meezan Bank

The CEO and President of Meezan Bank, Irfan Siddiqui, is the highest-paid Islamic banker in Pakistan who reportedly drew an annual salary of Rs. 306 million last year as compared to Rs. 275 million salary package in 2020 and also received an annual raise of Rs. 31 million from the bank.

His endeavors translated well into the sustainable growth of leading Islamic banks but his contribution to the growth of the Islamic banking industry in the country is remarkable. Starting from scratch, Meezan Bank acquired various financial institutions, including Société Générale, HSBC Pakistan, and HSBC Oman. It also achieved various benchmarks, including its assets value and deposit mobilization.

Meezan Bank made the highest-ever profit of Rs. 28.2 billion in 2021, with double-digit growth of 17 percent year-on-year (YoY).

3. Muhammad Aurangzeb — Habib Bank Limited

Muhammad Aurangzeb is the CEO and President of Pakistan’s biggest bank — Habib Bank Limited. In the last few years, he used to be the most expensive banker in the banking industry but ranked number 3 in terms of a salary package of Rs. 265 million that he had drawn from the bank in 2021 against an income of Rs. 222 million in 2020.

Aurangzeb’s aggressive focus on digital, SMEs, and agriculture financing should be followed by different banks as well. In 2021, his bank retained its position as the most profitable bank in the country, with its balance sheet reporting the highest-ever profit in the industry — Rs. 35.5 billion with an annual growth of 15 percent.

Of course, his rich experience in the global banking and the financial sector is making a difference in the local banking industry but customers angrily ask him if this is the quality of service one should expect from the country’s leading bank.

4. Imran Maqbool — MCB Bank

Imran Maqbool, the retiring CEO and President of MCB Bank is on the list of the top five highest-paid bankers in Pakistan. He drew an annual income of Rs. 235 million in 2021, which is Rs. 108 million or 85 percent higher than the salary he received from the bank in 2020, which was Rs. 127 million. The astronomical rise in income was apparently a good gesture from the bank in recognition of his dedicated services.

In the last year of his service, the bank made an all-time high profit of Rs. 30.8 billion, with a modest year-on-year growth of 6.2 percent. During his tenure, MCB Bank had become the most profitable bank for two straight years — 2018 and 2019. In the subsequent years, it had been among the top three most profitable banks in the country.

Maqbool had served Meezan Bank and its associated companies since 2002 in different capacities. He remained its top banker for nearly a decade and spearheaded successful initiatives for banks, including the merger with the NIB Bank, the launch of the Sri Lankan operations, supervision of the Asset Management Groups, and the establishment of MCB Islamic Bank as a subsidiary.

5. Rehan Shaikh — Standard Chartered Bank

Rehan Shaikh, the CEO and President of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), made an annual income of Rs. 194 million in 2021, with a staggering increase of Rs. 51 million from last year. Maintaining a modest annual profit growth of 4.4 percent, SCB achieved a profit of Rs. 13.7 billion in 2021 as compared to its profit of Rs. 13.13 billion in 2020.

Contrary to the growth in his salary, SCB did not sustain its position in terms of profit growth. Shaikh joined the bank a year and a half ago and the bank’s position dropped from sixth in 2019 to ninth in 2021. SCB left many of the competing banks in the dust under its then-CEO, Shahzad Dada.

6. Atif Bajwa — Bank Alfalah

The President and CEO of Bank Alfalah, Atif Aslam Bajwa, is an old guard of the bank who has been reappointed as its top banker after a term of 3 years.

Bajwa’s annual salary package is incredible. He drew an annual income of Rs. 187 million in 2021, along with perks and benefits, and drove the bank towards profitability and innovation again.

In 2021, Bank Alfalah posted a profit after tax of Rs. 14.217 billion in 2021 as compared to Rs. 10.475 billion that it reported last year, which was a significant improvement of 35.8 percent YoY. The bank regained its position among the top 10 profitable banks in the country, with its ranking increasing to eighth in 2021 from eleventh in 2020.

7. Mohsin Nathani — Habib Metropolitan Bank

Mohsin Nathani, the President and CEO of Habib Metropolitan Bank, is one of the most experienced bankers in Pakistan who deserves to be well-paid. Under his management, the bank reported its highest-ever profit of Rs. 12 billion, with a staggering growth of 82 percent YoY.  His income in 2021 was Rs. 144 million, which was Rs. 20 million higher than in 2020.

8. Mansoor Ali Khan — Bank Al Habib

Mansoor Ali Khan has been the CEO and President of Bank Al Habib since 2016 and has maintained a low profile in the banking industry but has kept the bank on the path of sustainable growth and expansion.

In 2021, Bank Al Habib Limited improved its ranking from the seventh-most profitable bank in 2020 to sixth place in 2021. It posted a profit after tax of Rs. 18.70 billion, showing a modest increase of five percent as compared to the previous year.

Bank Al Habib continued with its strategy for outreach expansion, adding 107 branches in 2021 with handsome investment. Khan made an annual income of Rs. 128 million in 2021, which is merely Rs. 4 million higher than his income in 2020.

9. Yousaf Hussain — Faysal Bank

Yousaf Hussain is the CEO and President of Faysal Bank, and has been associated with it since 2008, and became its CEO and President in 2017. Under his leadership, the bank successfully transformed its bank mode from a conventional system to Sharia-complaint, and Faysal Bank is close to completing its full conversion to Islamic banking in a few months.

Last year, Faysal Bank posted its highest-ever profit of Rs. 8 billion with a staggering growth of 25 percent YOY in profitability. Hussain made an annual income of Rs. 137 million, which was Rs. 17 million higher than his income in 2020.

10. Zafar Masud — Bank of Punjab

Zafar Masud, the CEO and President of the Bank of Punjab, is a miracle man for many reasons. Under his management, the bank posted a yearly growth of 79 percent in 2021 and made a profit of Rs. 12.4 billion against its profit of Rs. 6.9 billion reported in 2020.

While Masud is leading a public sector bank, his initiatives are aggressive, particularly in terms of partnerships with various companies for improvements in operations and expanding the businesses. In 2021, he made an annual income of Rs. 134 million along with perks and benefits.

.. Source

Poor country! ridiculously priced burgers in Lahore eateries

Published on: 22/04/2022 | Comments: No comments 

..  by Maham Ahmad 

When looking for something cheap and fulfilling, certain items really do hit the spot, like a big, tender, juicy burger with all the right fixings. Burgers have gone from a basic and timeless food item into a classic specialty, which has prompted gourmet chefs in Pakistan to create luxurious and decadent burgers with quality ingredients and specialized cooking techniques.

It was not long ago that burgers were essentially cheap, whether it meant buying the ingredients yourself or getting one at a restaurant. All burgers simply consisted of a meat patty on a bun, often preferred with the quintessential ketchup, and perhaps some lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

Never one to fall behind on food trends, arguably the food capital of Pakistan has some of the finest restaurants with upscale burgers on their menus that are expensive but delectable, and definitely must-try for foodies.

Let us take a look at the top five most ridiculously priced burgers in Lahore. Read complete story from  Source

Unbelievable: Senior govt officer requests to reduce his salary

Published on: 09/04/2022 | Comments: No comments 

..  by Haroon Hayder 

In a surprising development, a senior official of Punjab’s Health Department has requested the provincial government to decrease his monthly salary.

According to details, Director General (DG) Punjab Human Organs Transplantation Authority (PHOTA), Dr. Asad Aslam, has written a letter to the Health Secretary, requesting to reduce his monthly salary to Rs. 5 lacs from Rs. 10 lacs.

Dr. Asad wrote that he was appointed in December 2021. In addition to the salary package, the provincial government also provided him with an official car, free petrol, and a driver.

His office timings are 9 AM to 6 PM from Monday to Friday. However, he has realized that he has been completing the daily routine official work in just three to four hours since his appointment, the letter stated.

Dr. Asad argued that his current monthly salary package and other perks do not justify the amount of official work required to be performed by DG PHOTA.

Therefore, his current monthly salary should be reduced to Rs. 5 lacs from Rs. 10 lacs with immediate effect, the letter concluded. ..Source

Suisse Secrets unearth $56 million in homeless Pakistani man’s accounts

Published on: 16/03/2022 | Comments: No comments 

.. by Haroon Hayder

Credit Suisse Leaks have revealed that a homeless Pakistan man once held a whopping $56 million in two corporate bank accounts in Switzerland’s second-largest bank.

Mohammad Javed is the homeless man in question. Javed and his mother have been living near a sewage canal in Lahore. They became homeless after their house was demolished by the city’s civil administration. He earns around Rs. 500 daily by selling worn clothes.

Javed has no idea how his name got registered to this wealth, adding that he has never traveled outside Pakistan. Javed has no bank account in Pakistan either, let alone Switzerland.

Although Javed denies connection to the Credit Suisse accounts, both accounts were indeed opened under his name, Credit Suisse Leaks have confirmed.

If I had this money, I wouldn’t have been living beside this sewage drain together with my family. If I had this money, I would have been living in an upscale neighborhood.

The development also highlights a grim reality that the practice of opening fake bank accounts is not limited to just Pakistan.

How Did it Happen?

According to details, Mohammad Javed was born on 29 November 1977. NADRA record shows that he is the only person in the country with this date of birth.

A total of 72 million Swiss Francs which equals to $56 million were held in two accounts opened under Javed’s name. Corporate accounts indicate that someone had registered a company under Javed’s name before opening the accounts.

The first account was opened in 2003 and the second in 2005 while both of them were shut down in 2006.

Failure of the Bank

Maira Martini, an anti-money laundering expert at Transparency International, has termed the development as a ‘due diligence failure’ on the part of Credit Suisse.

Speaking in this regard, Maira said that the bank’s compliance department, which is responsible for ensuring that clients fulfill all the legal prerequisites, failed to effectively scrutinize the documents submitted to open the corporate accounts by stealing Javed’s identity.

Maira suggested Credit Suisse introduce different measures to effectively verify the identity of the account holders. She also recommended the bank enhance its due diligence mechanism to authenticate the source of income of the account holders.

Not the First Time

A number of former Credit Suisse employees have disclosed to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that the senior administration of the bank used to force the compliance officers not to adhere to compliance protocols while dealing with big clients

Statment From Credit Suisse

In an official statement, Credit Suisse said that the bank has made a significant investment in tackling financial crimes in the last ten year as part of the financial reforms in the Swiss banking sector.

As the leading global financial institution, the bank is fully aware of its responsibility to account holders and the Swiss financial system as a whole to uphold the enforced standards. .. Source

How to Keep your mind sharp at any age

Published on: 23/01/2022 | Comments: No comments 

Everyone has a tendency to be a little forgetful. We sometimes forget to pick up our car keys, an important file for work, or even someone’s name. As we grow older, we tend to lose some of the gray matter in our brains which is responsible for memory, among other things. If you want to preserve this gray matter for longer (and who wouldn’t?), the following article will be extremely helpful. Below are 7 exercises that will help keep your mind sharp at any age.

1. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand:  If you’re a right-handed person, try using your left hand once in a while when eating, writing, and picking things up. It might sound difficult at first, but after some practice, you can do at least a couple of daily tasks this way. The idea is to use your non-active side of the brain. This helps to expand parts of the cortex that are responsible for processing tactile information. May also interest you [Pics] 20 Kissing Scenes That Were Never Supposed to Happen Richouses 6 Facts You May Have Not Known About Prince Charles This Is Why You Should NOT Reboil Your Water! [Pics] This Is What The Perfect Female Body Looked Like 100 Years Ago (and every decade since) Beachraider Recommended by ease brain power are walnuts, turmeric .. Read further from source

Pandora Papers: Secret wealth and dealings of world leaders exposed

Published on: 04/10/2021 | Comments: No comments 

By Pandora Papers reporting team
BBC Panorama

Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev, King of Jordan

The secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires has been exposed in one of the biggest leaks of financial documents.

Some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials are featured in the files from offshore companies, dubbed the Pandora Papers.

They reveal the King of Jordan secretly amassed £70m of UK and US property.

They also show how ex-UK PM Tony Blair and his wife saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a London offic

The couple bought an offshore firm that owned the building.

The leak also links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco, and shows the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis – facing an election later this week – failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for £12m in the south of France.

It is the latest in a string of leaks over the past seven years, following the FinCen Files, the Paradise Papers, the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks.

The examination of the files is the largest organised by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), with more than 650 reporters taking part.

BBC Panorama in a joint investigation with the Guardian and the other media partners have had access to nearly 12 million documents and files from 14 financial services companies in countries including the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland.

Graphic showing size of Pandora Papers leak
Some figures are facing allegations of corruption, money laundering and global tax avoidance.

But one of the biggest revelations is how prominent and wealthy people have been legally setting up companies to secretly buy property in the UK.

The documents reveal the owners of some of the 95,000 offshore firms behind the purchases.

It highlights the UK government’s failure to introduce a register of offshore property owners despite repeated promises to do so, amid concerns some property buyers could be hiding money-laundering activities.

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family, who have been accused of looting their own country, are one example.

The investigation found the Aliyevs and their close associates have secretly been involved in property deals in the UK worth more than £400m.

The revelations could prove embarrassing for the UK government, as the Aliyevs appear to have made a £31m profit after selling one of their London properties to the Crown Estate – the Queen’s property empire that is managed by The Treasury and raises cash for the nation.

Many of the transactions in the documents involve no legal wrongdoing.

But Fergus Shiel, from the ICIJ, said: “There’s never been anything on this scale and it shows the reality of what offshore companies can offer to help people hide dodgy cash or avoid tax.”

He added: “They are using those offshore accounts, those offshore trusts, to buy hundreds of millions of dollars of property in other countries, and to enrich their own families, at the expense of their citizens.”

The ICIJ believes the investigation is “opening a box on a lot of things” – hence the name Pandora Papers.

King of Jordan’s Malibu mansions

Properties bought by the King of Jordan in Malibu

The leaked financial documents show how the King of Jordan secretly amassed a property empire in the UK and US worth more than £70m (over $100m).

They identify a network of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens used by Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein to buy 15 homes since he assumed power in 1999.

They include £50m on three adjacent ocean view properties in Malibu, California, and properties in London and Ascot in the UK.

His property interests have been built up as King Abdullah has been accused of presiding over an authoritarian regime, with protests taking place in recent years amid austerity measures and tax rises.

Lawyers for King Abdullah said all the properties were bought with personal wealth, which he also uses to fund projects for Jordan’s citizens.

They said it was common practice for high profile individuals to purchase properties via offshore companies for privacy and security reasons.

Among the other revelations in the Pandora Papers:

  • Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and six members of his family secretly owned a network of offshore companies. They have been linked to 11 firms – one of which was valued as holding assets of $30m
  • Members of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers and their families, secretly own companies and trusts holding millions of dollars
  • The law firm founded by President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus appears to have provided fake owners to disguise the real owner of a series of offshore companies – a former Russian politician who had been accused of embezzlement. However, the law firm denies this
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky transferred his stake in a secret offshore company just before he won the 2019 election
  • Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso, a former banker, replaced a Panamanian foundation that made monthly payments to his close family members with a trust based in South Dakota in the US

No stamp duty on Blair office buy

Tony and Cherie Blair in 2020IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

There is no suggestion in the Pandora Papers that Tony and Cherie Blair were hiding their wealth.

But documents show why stamp duty was not payable when the couple bought a £6.45m property.

The former Labour prime minister and his barrister wife Cherie acquired the building in Marylebone, central London, in July 2017 by buying the offshore company that owned it.

It is legal to acquire properties in the UK in this way and stamp duty does not have to be paid – but Mr Blair has previously been critical of tax loopholes.

The townhouse in Marylebone, central London, is now home to Mrs Blair’s legal consultancy, which advises governments around the world, as well as her foundation for women.

Mrs Blair said the sellers had insisted they buy the house through the offshore company.

She said they had brought the property back under UK rules and will be liable to pay capital gains tax if they sell it in future.

The ultimate owners of the property were a family with political connections in Bahrain – but both parties say they did not initially know who they were dealing with.

The boy who owned a £33m London property

Mayfair office building bought by
Image caption,This Mayfair building was sold to a front company in 2009

Other documents show how Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family have secretly acquired UK property using offshore companies.

The files show how the family – long accused of corruption in the European nation – bought 17 properties, including a £33m office block in London for the president’s 11-year-old son Heydar Aliyev.

The building in Mayfair was bought by a front company owned by a family friend of President Ilham Aliyev in 2009.

It was transferred one month later to Hedyar.

The research also reveals how another office block owned by the family nearby was sold to the Crown Estate for £66m in 2018.

The Crown Estate said it carried out the checks required in law at the time of purchase but is now looking into the matter.

The UK government says it is cracking down on money laundering with tougher laws and enforcement, and that it will introduce a register of offshore companies owning UK property when parliamentary time allows.

Pandora Papers banner

The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC and has led to one of the biggest ever global investigations. More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the hidden fortunes of some of the most powerful people on the planet. BBC Panorama and the Guardian have led the investigation in the UK. ..  SOURCE

Bitcoin likely to consume as much energy as Pakistan in 2021

Published on: 13/09/2021 | Comments: No comments 

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is poised to consume 91TWh of energy, as much as Pakistan utilizes in a year, in 2021 with its more expensive and powerful mining machines.

Energy consumption has become the most recent flashpoint for cryptocurrency watchdogs, who decry it as an energy hog. In particular, the noise around the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining has gotten louder with time, and rightly so.

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, utilized about 67TWh of electricity in 2020, and this year, it looks set to gut almost 91TWh of energy which is almost equal to the energy that Pakistan consumes.

Essentially, Bitcoin mining requires a lot of energy. For perspective, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin, compared Bitcoin mining to mining gold. According to research, it takes $12,500 to mine one block of Bitcoin. As the currency surges in value and more miners with less energy-efficient machines join the network, both financial and environmental prices skyrocket.

So, while Bitcoin only makes up 0.3 percent of the global energy consumption, it will require ever-more expensive and powerful mining machines, which most definitely will make Bitcoin consume more energy than Pakistan in the coming years. .. Source