Pakistani lawyer who purchased Sócrates’ apartment hits back at money-laundering claims

Pakistani lawyer Ali Khan is at the centre of money-laundering claims since he bought the Lisbon apartment of jailed former prime minister José Sócrates.

According Portuguese press reports, the minute the sale went through an alarm was sounded at the PJ’s Financial Information Unit.

Word on the wire was that the €675,000 coming in from accounts in UK and Switzerland were somehow connected to money-laundering.

The source of the info was “our banking system”, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

And since Ali Khan was understood to be using the purchase of Sócrates’ former home in Rua Braamcamp to avail himself of one of Portugal’s famous “Golden” residency visas, the PJ’s anti-corruption squad was called in.

CM claims its journalists have tried “without success” to contact Ali Khan – a former Attorney General to Pakistan – but Diário de Notícias has been more successful, and carries an interview this morning in which the lawyer who got a first class degree from Cambridge in 1977 affirms all the money came from his salary and was thus bone-fide.

“There was no money-laundering,” he told DN in an email. “The money invested comes from my activity as a lawyer.”

Ali Khan went on to stipulate that “the banks were informed that the money would be sent to Portugal for the purchase of a property. All the transactions were made through banks. There were no cash payments”.

This far the case has not led to the opening of any kind of criminal inquiry, explains DN, though it is “being analysed by the PJ’s financial information unit – the entity that normally receives communication from banks over suspect international transactions”.

What is certain is that any whiff of irregularity will not help Ali Khan’s purported desire to be awarded golden visa residency status.

Ali Khan – full name Muhammad Makhdoom Ali Khan – purchased Sócrates’ luxury apartment in the smart Heron Castilho building on August 6.

Behind bars since last November, Sócrates made an excellent deal. As TVI reports, he bought the property in 1998 for “around €235,000”.

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