“I’m living on a rent basis which comes – in every quarter – from Pakistan…I’m not earning. I’m just like any other student living with his parents. I don’t necessarily have to know the facts and who owns the flat, and who pays for the rent and who pays for my living”

–Hassan Nawaz – 1999.

The controversy over the high-end properties in London owned by the Sharif family isn’t a new one; it has been filtering in and out of public light through the 90s. What has remained constant however, is the deceptive and non-committal stance of the Sharif family members when questioned about them. Pressed hard in a 1999 interview on the BBC show ‘HardTalk’, Hassan Nawaz asserted that “I can speak on my behalf and say... that I do not own any offshore accounts in any country, in any bank”, while appearing visibly uncomfortable under the questioning.

The Panama papers have revealed that the apartment which Hassan claimed he had on ‘rent’ is owned by two offshore companies – Neilsen and Nescoll – whose beneficiary owner is Maryam Nawaz; his sister. Furthermore Hassan Nawaz himself is authorised to make transactions for several offshore companies despite his categorical denial in the interview. 17 years after that interview, Hussain Nawaz – appearing at a local news channel – has owned up to the ownership of everything his brother denied.