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pakistan
Thursday Aug 22 2019
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Maryam, Hamza deny business ties with foreigners

NAB says foreigners allegedly sent as remittances in Sharif family’s accounts from different countries. Photo: File 

ISLAMABAD: The multi-billion Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd (CSML) money-laundering investigation took a new turn on Wednesday after key accused Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz denied having any business relations with four foreign nationals who according to the top anti-corruption watchdog allegedly sent billions of rupees as remittances in Sharif family’s accounts from different countries.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in its preliminary investigation report disclosed that cousins--Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz Sharif --have called a spade a spade that they have never been in business ties with Saeed Saif bin Jabar Al-Suweidi (UAE national), Sheikh Zakauddin (UK national), Hani Ahmad Jamjoom (Saudi national) and Naseer Abdullah Lootah (UAE national). These cousins, interestingly, also passed the buck on each other during the course of investigation after investigators questioned them in an alleged multi-billion money laundering scam linked to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd (CSML), added the report pointing out that ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif were the major beneficiaries of this money laundering scam.

"Accused [Maryam Nawaz Sharif] said that her grandfather (late Mian Sharif) might have some understanding with the foreign nationals. Accused was confronted that her grandfather died in 2004, while the transaction took place in 2008. Upon this she did not offer any plausible reply and told that she would consult her family members to give her response," revealed NAB investigation report made available with this correspondent.

"Hamza Shehbaz Sharif said that he had no knowledge of these foreign nationals and this sugar mill was given to Mian Nawaz Sharif's family and Mian Abbas Sharif's family, hence they must be knowing these foreign investors," the report revealed adding that Maryam Nawaz Sharif has continuously been changing her statement and failed to satisfy before the NAB team.

"Accused [Maryam Nawaz Sharif] stated that since the Telegraphic Transfer was received in the account of co-accused Yousaf Abbas Sharif hence he should be questioned for this," the report stated further.

Saeed Saif Bin Jabar Al Swadei transferred 9,409,090 shares to Maryam Nawaz Sharif in 2008 while Sheikh Zaka Uddin transferred 2,021,760 and Hani Ahmad Jamjoom sent 97,000 shares to her accordingly in 2008. Then Maryam Nawaz Sharif transferred 7,000,000 shares to Yousaf Abbas in 2010. She also transferred 5,000,000 shares to Mian Nawaz Sharif in 2015, revealed the report. This is the third case that NAB will investigate Nawaz Sharif in, who, except the Panama case references with Maryam Nawaz Sharif, was also being questioned in the bulletproof vehicles and fake accounts cases.

During the course of the inquiry it was revealed that co-accused Yousaf Abbas Sharif received payment orders issued from exchange companies of UAE amounting to Rs130 million in the year 2013, given the fact that the said accused Yousaf Abbas Sharif has not declared sources of income/business/investment in UAE, investigation report continued to reveal.

Accused Yousaf Abbas transferred currency from his accounts which showed that the ultimate beneficiary of this amount was Maryam Nawaz Sharif as well as Mian Nawaz Sharif and others. Accused Maryam Nawaz Sharif was asked to explain if she or her family had sources of funds in UAE, upon which she told that her family had relations with different persons in UAE. She needs to contact those persons. Thus the amount of Rs130 million is yet to be explained by Maryam Nawaz Sharif for which custody of accused is required, added the report.

During the current remand, Maryam Nawaz Sharif was confronted with the documents pertaining to the fraudulent transfer of 11 million shares of M/s CSML to one Lootah. The evidence collected reveals that accused gifted 7 million shares to the accused Yousaf Abbas Sharif in order to assist and abet the main accused in money laundering to the tune of Rs410 million, said the report. These shares which were shown to be transferred to Lootah were transferred back to the brother of the accused namely Hussain Nawaz Sharif in Dec 2013 which shows that the first transfer of shares in the name of Lootah was a sham entry in order to launder the amount of Rs410 million.

That investment shown in the name of foreign nationals, telegraphic transfer of Naseer Abdullah Lootah to the tune of Rs410 million and acquisition of shares by Maryam Nawaz Sharif worth Rs400 million and acquisition of M/s Shamim Sugar Mills for Rs1.2 billion need further probe and further physical remand of the accused is required, report further stated.

As all the three accused are under custody, their law experts, when contacted, termed the report ridiculous, adding that nowadays every kind of false allegations are being made against the accused. They said that when the case will progress in the court then all the truth will come to the fore, proving the accused innocent.

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