Broadsheet has asked Pakistan to pay about £1.2 million (Rs280 million) related to legal fees and some intricate disbursements. Headed by Kaveh Moussavi, Broadsheet is in the business of recovering the wealth plundered by politicians, bureaucrats and heads of state. About two decades ago, the NAB hired Broadsheet’s services during Gen Musharraf’s tenure to recover wealth ostensibly plundered by the politicians. Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari topped the list given to Broadsheet. According to the agreement, Broadsheet was to receive 20 per cent of the amount it recovered by its professional prowess and the remaining 80 per cent was to be repatriated to Pakistan. The proposal at the time must have looked highly profitable to Moussavi to drool over it, as billions had allegedly been siphoned off from Pakistan. The ill-gotten wealth was either stashed abroad or used to acquire properties overseas. But recovering wealth looted by politicians, bureaucrats and heads of the states who made hay while the sun shone on them is never an easy proposition. To catch big-time plunderers is no mean task. One has to be many steps ahead of them to recover the loot. The profession Moussavi engaged in is certainly no cakewalk. Putting it somewhat coarsely, it’s symptomatic of setting a thief to catch a thief. Recovering wealth looted by politicians, bureaucrats and heads of the states who made hay while the sun shone on them is never an easy proposition. Nevertheless, Broadsheet, for whatever reasons, failed to recover the so-called billions that were to return to state coffers. But never mind! Moussavi never gives up. His modus operandi is different. When he fails to haul up the alleged robbers, he turns on his clients. He lodged a case against NAB in the London High Court for violating the terms of the contract on which Broadsheet was hired. As usual, people didn’t know what the terms of engaging the diggers of supposedly the looted wealth were. Nonetheless, Broadsheet lodged a case against Pakistan in London High Court blaming it for abrogating the contract. Pakistan also had to hire a team of both British and Pakistani lawyers to defend its stance but unfortunately lost the case. The London High Court passed an order against Pakistan to pay about $30 million to the claimant. The fabulous sum, when converted to devalued Pak rupee, amounted to Rs5 billion. Broadsheet was richer by $30 million last August. Despite having lost the case in the London Court, Pakistan had to pay the Pakistani and British lawyers hired to contest the case. As reported, Pakistan paid $5 million to its team of Pakistani lawyers and $25million to a leading law firm Allen and Overy in London. The identity of the Pakistani lawyers who made fortunes was never revealed. The Broadsheet debacle left this nation $65 million poorer. Isn’t it a mystery that the client (NAB) and the firm (Broadsheet) it hired to recover the peculated wealth end up facing each other in the court of law through their teams of lawyers? In 2020, Broadsheet even threatened the Pak government to impound assets of the Pakistani cricket team in the UK to recover the amount outstanding against NAB. The Pakistan Cricket Board had to retaliate to defend itself, saying it was an autonomous body and had nothing to do with the arbitration and claims levelled by the asset recovery firm. People in Pakistan have come to the conclusion that Kaveh Moussavi could go to any extent to extort money from ‘poor us’. And that whenever he falls on hard times, he diverts to Pakistan and is not disappointed. The Broadsheet-NAB affair is a jigsaw puzzle difficult to unravel. Students during the school days spent much time on puzzles like ‘Find your way’. To solve such puzzles, whichever route one attempted, one reached a dead end. Perhaps those who read detective novels and short stories by Agatha Christie could understand the complicated network of puzzles masterminded by Kaveh Moussavi. Broadsheet puzzle has wheels within wheels. To confound the matter further, there were not one but two firms by the same name – Broadsheet LLC. And both in the same line of business of recovering ill-gotten wealth. One was incorporated in Colorado and owned by Henry James and the other registered in the Isle of Man and owned by Kaveh Moussavi. Some say that NAB initially dealt with Henry James’s firm but when he killed himself by jumping from the fifth storey of a hotel in Paris, Moussavi quickly filled the vacuum. Let’s wish him long life and hope that he drops his fresh demand of £1.2 million. The writer is a Lahore-based columnist and can be reached at email@example.com.