Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Shaukat Tarin intends to sell stake in Silk bank

Abdul Aleem Khan, a prominent official in the Punjab government, has offered to acquire Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin’s and his family’s stake in Silkbank Limited.

According to the sources, the transaction would be subject to approval by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) since Aleem Khan is under investigation by an anti-corruption body. They claim Khan has proposed to acquire a total of roughly 26 percent of Silkbank Limited.

According to the bank’s most recent publicly accessible financial statement for the January-March 2020 period, the Tarin family is one of its key owners and manages its shares through Sinthos Capital, which is comprised of Shaukat Tarin, Sadeq Sayeed, and Azmat Tarin.

“I want to sell my bank shares so that I may focus on public life,” Tarin said in response to a query regarding Khan’s offer. However, he neither disputed nor acknowledged Khan’s request to acquire his and his family’s shares.

According to the sources, two commercial banks were also interested in acquiring Tarin and his family’s holdings. However, the bank’s balance sheet shortfall in the billions of rupees, estimated to be in the double digits, was one of the reasons for the delay in reaching an agreement. However, sources close to the finance minister claim that the gap has been mostly filled.

According to Tarin’s sources, Aleem Khan made the offer a few days ago. According to the sources, the offer would only become a reality if the central bank grants Khan a fit and appropriate certificate to buy the properties. The SBP is required by law to vet commercial bank sponsors.

When asked if there was any inquiry, investigation, or reference pending against Aleem Khan under the National Accountability Ordinance, Nawazish Ali, spokesman for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), answered, “matter is under probe as per law.”

In September of last year, the National Accountability Bureau authorized the filing of a corruption reference in the accountability court against Khan for allegedly holding assets worth Rs1.4 billion in excess of his known sources of income. Khan remained in NAB prison until May of last year when he was granted bail and permitted to join the provincial government.

Silk Bank shares traded at Rs1.77 per share, the lowest price of any publicly traded bank.

Khan was asked to remark on his offer to Tarin if he sought the SBP for due diligence and requesting a fit and appropriate certificate, the amount of the deal, the proportion of shares he wishes to acquire, and the impact of NAB inquiries on the transaction.

“In response to your inquiries, it has been told that no possible investor for the purchase of Silkbank’s shares has so far approached SBP; hence, we are unable to comment on any potential deal or investor,” said SBP chief spokesman Abid Qamar.

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