Pak PM, son summoned by court for fraud in money laundering case

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The case against Shehbaz Sharif is being heard by a special court in Lahore. (File)

Islamabad:

A special Pakistani court on Saturday subpoenaed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz on Sept. 7 for raising charges against them in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case.

Shehbaz Sharif, 70, and his sons Hamza, 47, and Suleman, 40, were charged by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti Money Laundering Act.

The case is being heard by a special court in Lahore, which has already granted bail to both father and son.

Both Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza were absent from the hearing as their lawyers asked for a one-time waiver on their behalf.

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Sharif’s lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz, told the court that he was advised not to travel because he was not feeling well. Hamza’s lawyer Rao Aurangzeb said his client had severe back pain and needed rest.

FIA Prosecutor Farooq Bajwa did not object to the waiver granted by the court.

The prosecutor told the court that they had obtained the record of 19 bank accounts held by Suleman Shehbaz, the second son of Prime Minister Shehbaz, while the record of another seven had yet to be obtained.

After hearing the arguments, the court adjourned the case until September 7, when it called on Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza to draft charges.

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Sharif and Hamza were previously expected to face charges on May 14, but it was postponed because the prime minister was out of the country.

According to the FIA ​​report submitted to the court, the investigative team “detected 28 benami accounts belonging to the Shehbaz family that laundered money of Rs 16.3 billion in 2008-18. The FIA ​​has the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions examined.”

Benami transaction refers to any transaction made by a person without using his name or the name of another person.

The report added that the amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and was “given to Shehbaz (Sharif) in a personal capacity”.

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“This amount (16 billion Rs) has nothing to do with the sugar trade (of the Shehbaz family),” it claimed.

The money that Shehbaz received from the accounts of low-paid workers was transferred outside Pakistan through hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for the beneficial use of his family members,” the FIA ​​claimed.

Eleven low-paid Sharif group employees who “owned and possessed” the laundered proceeds on behalf of the prime suspect have been found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The three other co-defendants of the Sharif group have also actively facilitated the money laundering. the agency said.

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