LAHORE: In a significant development in the alleged money laundering probe against the Sharif family, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has taken into custody two senior officers of a private bank on charges of "influencing" prosecution witnesses, including officials of different banks.
An official source familiar with the development told Business Recorder on Sunday that the agency has picked up Senior Vice-President/Head of Cooperate Social Responsibility and Vice-President/Head of Compliance of a bank. He said both the senior officers were "exerting pressure" on the prosecution witnesses, including officers of different banks, to change their statements.
The FIA had booked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 (financial fraud, impersonation and forgery) of the Pakistan Penal Code and 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and read with 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
According to the FIA charge sheet, its sugar investigation team in Lahore, while conducting a criminal investigation with respect to Al-Arabia Sugar Mills Ltd/Ramzan Sugar Mills Ltd and the Shehbaz family-owned business entities, discovered over Rs25 billion deposited from 2008 to 2018 in the bank accounts opened/operated in the names of peons and clerks of the sugar mills when Shehbaz held the Punjab chief minister's office.
The agency claimed to posses "credible evidence" of over Rs25 billion (including gratifications from sources extraneous to sugar business) in the accounts opened and operated in the name of low-wage employees of the Shehbaz family sugar mills.
It further said the money received from the accounts of low-wage employees by Shehbaz was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, and ultimately destined for beneficial use of his family members. The PML-N president and his son Hamza are out on bail.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021