Muhammad Lakhani Hidden Bank Accounts Defy UK Court Orders
Some of the world’s largest banks continue to defy a global seizure order issued by the UK High Court in April, 2020, against ship recycling titan Muhammad Tahir Lakhani and his sons, Hasan Muhammad and Ali Muhammad Lakhani.
According to the UK High Court, the family of Muhammad Tahir Lakhani defrauded investors out of tens of millions of dollars in a massive fraud against US investment fund manager, Yieldstreet. The fraud verdict includes $91.11 million, and involved 13 tankers sold for scrap, of which $78.24 million in assets are currently frozen.
Muhammad Tahir Lakhani and his family wealth remains largely untouched nearly two years after the UK High Court approved measures to freeze all global assets in response to a fraud scheme verdict.
Some banks followed the UK court’s order and froze the family’s funds. Other banks though, some quite perniciously, have defied the judicial order by continuing to aid the Lakhani’s in hiding their ill-gotten assets and living their luxurious lifestyle on the backs of defrauded investors.
By some estimates, close to $25 million of the Lakhani’s wealth is stashed in offshore jurisdictions around the world in places like Monaco, Curacao, Palau, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Hong Kong, the European Union, and even the United States. But money doesn’t hide itself. The continued cloaking of the Lakhani family stolen wealth has been made possible by big banks and a global array of shell companies, affiliated corporations, and other secretive vehicles.
HSBC Bank Hiding Muhammad Lakhani Money
British banking giant HSBC, for example, is protecting millions of dollars in assets owned by the Lakhani family. The Lakhani’s have bank accounts with HSBC in Monaco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. HSBC is widely known for providing accounts to international criminals, Russian oligarchs, and corrupt businessmen. In 2021, just two years after the bank promised to clean up its act, an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) revealed a vast money-laundering ring moving $4.2 billion through a network of 60 HSBC accounts in Hong Kong.
This and other investigations have disclosed the role of some of the world’s largest banks moving massive flows of dirty money through the financial system. Looking at the banks collaborating with the Lakhani’s, there are several other familiar names that appeared in the FinCEN Files investigation by the ICIJ.
Muhammad Lakhani & Danske Bank Money Laundering
The Danske Bank in Ireland is hiding more than $3.3 million on behalf of Muhammad Lakhani and his family. In 2018, the Danske Bank became the face of a money-laundering scandal amounting to more than $200 billion in unaccounted transactions from Russia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, flowing through its non-resident portfolio. The Danske Bank is currently under investigation from a range of authorities and is reportedly trying to rebuild its compliance program, which seems contradictory to its continued protection of the Lakhani’s sordid operation. When asked for an explanation, the bank refused to comment.
On the Curacao islands, the Lakhani family holds an offshore account at the DVB Bank Amerika worth more than $3.1 million, with additional assets placed in the Pacific at the Bank of Guam. Both banks have refused to comment. These and other banks, including NIBC in the Netherlands and the Bank of China in Hong Kong, seem to be intentionally ignoring the court’s ruling by aiding the Lakhani family to continue its’ illegal activities.
Muhammad Lakhani Has 34 Active Bank Accounts
In total, despite the UK High Court ordering all Lakhani-linked accounts and assets frozen, only forty-five accounts have so far been closed or rendered inactive by financial institutions, while thirty-four accounts remain active.
Investors are demanding the non-compliant banks be held accountable and to stop protecting the corrupt Lakhani family. They have filed criminal complaints in several jurisdictions and await the results of authorities’ investigations.
Muhammad Tahir Lakhani Debt
The Lakhani’s have run the Dubai Trading Agency LLC since 1973. They also own North Star Maritime Holdings Ltd., which they claim is the world’s second-largest ship-breaking ﬁrm. The family’s patriarch, Muhammad Tahir Lakhani, represented Dubai as the Vice Chairman of the UAE Shipping Association until 2019.
From June 2018 to September 2019, Yieldstreet SPVs negotiated and closed a series of loans with the Lakhani’s ship recycling business, ultimately extending six facilities for an aggregate debt of approximately $89 million (one loan was fully repaid).
The loans were generally collateralized by end-of-life vessels and secured by mortgages on the financed ships. Yieldstreet also required and obtained personal guarantees from Muhammad Tahir Lakhani, his sons, and their companies, and further mitigated the credit risk with specialty mortgage insurance.
After Yieldstreet revealed the Lakhani’s fraud and brought it to the attention of courts and law enforcement, it learned that the Lakhani family also victimized several other Yieldstreet lenders, including Njord Partners LP (an Apollo Global Management affiliate), Fleetscape (an Oaktree Capital Management affiliate), the Chenavari fund, FIM Bank, and Unicredit Bank.
Njord Partners LP also has a $47 million judgment against Muhammad Tahir Lakhani, documents from which demonstrate that the creditors were each defrauded in substantially the same way. Collectively, the Lakhani’s defrauded creditors out of some $220 million. The Lakhani companies include North Star Maritime Holdings Ltd, Dubai Trading Agency, and Dubai Navigation Corp, with bank accounts all over the globe.
The UK High Court granted Yieldstreet a $77 million summary judgment and a Worldwide Freeze Order against Muhammad Lakhani, his 2 sons, and all their assets worldwide.