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Has Shehbaz Sharif been acquitted in UK money laundering case?

Government denies Shahbaz Sharif's acquittal (Photo Online)

In a money laundering case against PML-N president and opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif and his son Suleiman Shehbaz, a British court has quashed orders to freeze their accounts, but the government believes there is no money laundering case against Shehbaz Sharif in London.

The government stated that the impression was given that Shehbaz Sharif has been acquitted in the case, the decision of the British National Crime Agency was related to the freezing of two accounts of Suleiman Shehbaz.

Case in UK’s National Crime Agency

The case against Shehbaz Sharif and his son Suleiman Shehbaz was filed by the NCA in December 2017 at the request of the government of Pakistan, on which the crime agency froze the bank accounts subject to strict scrutiny. Investigations were also carried out in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates with the cooperation of Pakistan.

The National Crime Agency told the court that Pakistan had asked the NCA to assist the state of Pakistan in recovering the criminal assets but the investigation did not find any “recoverable property” for Pakistan.

In the light of the NCA’s investigation, Westminster Court Judge Nicholas Reimer has revoked the accounts of Shehbaz Sharif and Suleiman Shehbaz in the money laundering case by revoking their accounts.

Investigation of FIA

According to the documents submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against Shehbaz Sharif and Suleiman Shehbaz, one man transferred Rs. 7 crores, another Rs. 40 million, and the third man Rs. 4.5 million.

According to the FIA, out of Rs 25 billion, Rs 8 billion have been transferred as suspicious transactions from unrelated persons. Billions of rupees have been sent by cotton, rice, flour mills, property agents while money has been transferred from fruit, vegetable shops, medical stores, furniture, and clothing shops.

The FIA document stated that billions of rupees have been transacted from toy stores and PCs. These transactions were made in fake accounts of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Al-Arabia Sugar Mills.

PML-N’s stance

PML-N said that the Sharif family has been held accountable for the last three years but the government has so far failed to provide any evidence. The NSA has conducted a comprehensive investigation. It is a great thing that Shehbaz Sharif and Suleiman Shehbaz have been cleared in this investigation.

Government’s response

Interior and Accountability Advisor Shahzad Akbar said that the British court issued a short two-page judgment in the Shehbaz Sharif case, the British National Crime Agency issued the verdict on September 10, the decision was related to the freezing of two accounts.

Shehbaz Sharif’s name is not in the whole decision while the British court did not give any verdict of acquittal but the impression is being given that Shehbaz Sharif has become a servant. Two money laundering cases against him are going on in Pakistan. 

What is the truth?

The government said that developed countries are safe harbors to keep money stolen from the poor countries, and their laws are very biased in this regard. If their money goes to another country, they will suffer. The lawsuit against Shehbaz Sharif and Suleiman Shehbaz was never started at our request, the government stated.

The suspicious transaction reported by the bank, the bank reported to the National Crime Agency on which they froze the accounts and went to court to confirm it, the National Crime Agency did not start the investigation at the request of the government of Pakistan, it only provided assistance at the request of the NSA. 

On the one hand, the government is expressing dissatisfaction with the matter and on the other hand, reservations are being expressed over the decision. However, the decision of the British court has given a big relief to Shehbaz Sharif, and if the government believes that the British National Crime Agency or the verdict is not right, then the truth should be brought to light by filing a case with the evidence again and if the government does not have the evidence, then it is wise to accept the verdict by acknowledging the fact.