Friday, July 15, 2022
Web Desk

Suleman Shahbaz declared proclaimed offender in multi-billion rupee money laundering case

Court grants PM Shehbaz one-time exemption from appearing; seeks details of Suleman’s properties

Web Desk
Suleman Shehbaz, son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. —
Suleman Shehbaz, son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. —

  • Special court seeks details of Suleman Shahbaz’s properties.
  • PM Shehbaz Sharif granted one-time exemption from appearing.
  • Special court adjourns hearing till July 30.

LAHORE: A special court declared Suleman Shehbaz, son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and another person proclaimed offenders in a multi-billion rupee money laundering case.

Lahore Special Court (Central-I) declared suspects Suleman and Tahir Naqvi as proclaimed offenders in the Rs16 billion money laundering case — in which PM Shehbaz and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz are also suspects.

The special court judge also summoned the property details of Suleman and Naqvi, while granting a one-time exemption to the prime minister from appearing before the court and asked him to ensure his presence at the next hearing.

The court also summoned the death certificate of another suspect in the case, Malik Maqsood Ahmed, aka “Maqsood chaprasi”, who passed away in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last month.

The court then adjourned the hearing till July 30.

The case

In December 2021, the FIA submitted a challan against Shehbaz and Hamza to the special court for their alleged involvement in laundering Rs16 billion in a sugar scam.

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 Rs16.3bn was committed from 2008-18. The FIA examined a 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 Shehbaz's family), it claimed. The money allegedly received from the accounts of low-wage employees was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for the beneficial use of his family members, the FIA had said.

"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.