Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Pakistan court summons PM Shehbaz Sharif, son Hamza in money laundering case

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A Lahore-based special court summoned Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz in connection with a 16-billion-rupee money laundering case against them.

The court summoned the father-son duo to appear on September 7 for the framing of charges and adjourned the hearing till that date, Dawn reported.

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The Prime Minister and his two sons were booked by the country’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the ‘Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act’.

The Pakistani newspaper said Shehbaz’s son Suleman Shehbaz is in the UK and has been declared an absconder. A total of 14 others have also been named in the FIR in an anti-corruption act.

Shehbaz and Hamza have already been granted pre-arrest bail in the case filed by the FIA. Both of them have asked for a one-time exemption on their behalf during the hearing today.

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The Prime Minister’s lawyer told the court that he had been advised not to travel as he was not well. “The weather was unpleasant yesterday, which is why he did not come today,” he said.

In December 2021, the FIA submitted the claim against Shehbaz and Hamza to a special court for their alleged involvement in the sugar scam case.

“The investigation team has detected 28 benami (unnamed) accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs16.3bn was committed during 2008-18. The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions,” the FIA report said.

According to the report, the amount was kept in hidden accounts and given to Shehbaz in a personal capacity.

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“Eleven low-paid employees of the Sharif group who ‘held and possessed’ the laundered proceeds on behalf of the principal accused, are found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The three other co-accused of the Sharif group also actively facilitated the money laundering,” the agency was quoted as saying by Dawn.

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