Indictment of PM and his son in money laundering case postponed


LAHORE: A responsible court in Lahore on Saturday adjourned the hearing of a money laundering case registered against Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, until Monday due to a public holiday in the Punjab capital at the occasion of the anniversary of the death, or Ursby Ali Hujwiri.

During the previous hearing, the Prime Minister and his son filed motions for acquittal before the Special Court (Central-I) which then requested a response from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on them.

In their petitions, the father-son duo argued that the agency named them in the challan without first looking at the facts. “The truth is that no evidence has been found against us in the investigation conducted so far,” they claimed, asking the court to exonerate them.

Meanwhile, the court also adjourned until Monday the hearing of the motion filed by Suleman Shehbaz, Shehbaz’s brother, to unfreeze his companies’ bank accounts.

Sharif and his family face charges of laundering billions of rupees money using accounts operated in the name of their businesses and employees, according to the agency.

The agency named Sharif and his sons as the main defendants in the case. 14 others were named in the First Information Report (FIR) under sections 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal offence) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with 3-4 of the Act anti-money laundering.

While Shehbaz is no longer chief minister of Punjab, his father is expected to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution as he did in hearings held after he took over as prime minister following a vote of controversial censorship against his predecessor, Imran Khan, in April.

Both have already been released on bail prior to their arrest in the case. Suleman was declared a delinquent by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2019 after refusing to appear before the dirty money watchdog despite repeated summonses.

THE CASE

The reference primarily accuses Sharif of being a beneficiary of assets held on behalf of his family members and front men, who had no source to acquire such assets.

He said members and leaders of the Shehbaz family received fake foreign remittances of billions into their personal bank accounts. In addition to these remittances, the office said, billions of rupees were laundered through foreign money orders, which were deposited in the personal bank accounts of Sharif’s two sons.

The reference further stated that Shehbaz’s family did not justify the sources of funds used for the acquisition of assets.

He said the suspects had committed bribery and corrupt practice offenses as contemplated by the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and money laundering as defined in the National Accountability Act 2010. fight against money laundering. He asked the trial court to try the suspects and punish them under the law.

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