Rs16b money laundering case: Need to arrest PM Shehbaz, CM Hamza, FIA tells court

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Saturday told the Special Court (Central-I) that the agency wanted to arrest Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz in the Rs16 billion money laundering case filed against the father and son duo, Geo News reported.

During today’s hearing, FIA’s lawyer argued that the duo was “not part of the investigation”; however, Hamza’s counsel rejected the claims, accusing the agency of misleading the court as the “two had been a part of the investigations”.

In his arguments, the counsel for Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz, Mohammad Amjad Pervaiz said that the investigation has been going on for the last one-and-a-half year and the FIA has been unable to produce any evidence against his clients.

As Amjad Pervaiz started presenting his arguments for the confirmation of bail in the money laundering case, both the PML-N leaders left the court.

The counsel highlighted that the FIA interrogated the father-son duo when both of them were in jail.

The court had extended the interim bail of PM Shehbaz and Hamza till June 4 (today) on the last hearing and had directed Hamza’s lawyer to present his arguments today.

During the last hearing, the court took notice incomplete challan and ordered the prosecution to file a supplementary challan, completing all the requirements.

Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz and CM Hamza will also appear in an accountability court for a hearing of the Ashiyana Housing reference, in which the premier has already been indicted.

Strict security arrangements have been made around the courts ahead of PM’s arrival.

Hearing on NAB references

On the other hand, during the hearing in Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiyana Housing cases, filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in an accountability court, PM Shehbaz requested the judge to present arguments himself and sought time for it.

During the hearing, prosecutor Asadullah Malik produced witnesses who presented records related to the corruption cases while SSP Legal Lahore Police sought more time from the court to present complete records.

After hearing all the arguments, the hearing was adjourned till June 20.

It is worth mentioning that Shehbaz has already been indicted in the Ashiyana Housing reference

FIA case

In December 2021, the FIA had submitted the challan against Shehbaz and Hamza before the special court for their alleged involvement in laundering an amount of Rs16 billion in the sugar scam case.

According to the FIA report submitted to the court, the investigation team has “detected 28 benami 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 report added that the amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and given to Shehbaz in a personal capacity.

This amount (Rs16 billion) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of the Shehbaz family), it claimed. The money received from the accounts of low-wage employees by Shehbaz was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for the beneficial use of his family members, the FIA had alleged.

“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 had said.

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