A Pakistani special court on Saturday summoned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz on September 7 for making charges against them in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case.
Shehbaz, 70, and his sons Hamza, 47, and Suleman, 40, were arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption and Disclosure Act. money laundering law.
The case is being heard by a special court in Lahore, which has already granted bail prior to the arrest of the father and son.
Both Shehbaz and Hamza were absent from the hearing as their lawyers applied for a one-time exemption on their behalf.
Shehbaz’s lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz, told the court he was advised against traveling because he was unwell. Hamza’s lawyer, Rao Aurangzeb, said his client suffered from severe back pain and needed rest.
FIA prosecutor Farooq Bajwa did not object to the exemption, which was granted by the court.
The prosecutor told the court that they had obtained the file for 19 bank accounts of Suleman Shehbaz, the second son of Prime Minister Shehbaz, while the file for seven others had not yet been obtained.
After hearing arguments, the court adjourned the case until September 7, when it summoned Shehbaz and Hamza to file charges.
Shehbaz and Hamza were previously due to be charged on May 14, but that was postponed because the prime minister was out of the country.
According to the FIA report submitted to the court, the investigation team “detected 28 benami accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs 16.3 billion was committed in 2008-18. FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions.”
Benami transaction means any transaction made by a person without using his name or using the name of another person.
The report added that the amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and “given to Shehbaz on a personal basis”.
“This amount (16 billion rupees) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of the Shehbaz family),” he claimed. Money received from low-wage employee accounts by Shehbaz was transferred out of Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately for the beneficial use of his family members,” the FIA alleged.
“Eleven poorly paid employees of the Sharif Group who ‘held and possessed’ the proceeds laundered on behalf of the main defendant, are found guilty of facilitating the money laundering. The other three co-defendants of the Sharif Group also actively facilitated the laundering of money,” the agency said.
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