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LAHORE: A special court (central) on Monday approved unfreezing of bank accounts of eight companies owned by Suleman Shehbaz, a proclaimed offender (PO) in a money laundering case and son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, for paying salaries to employees.

Secretary of the companies, Abid Rasool, had filed an application for the unfreezing of the bank accounts.

The court allowed the application and directed the banks concerned to unfreeze the accounts in question and adjourned further hearing till September 30.

The court sought further arguments on the acquittal applications of Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz on next hearing.

The court also allowed applications of PM Shehbaz Sharif and his son former chief minister Hamza Shehbaz for one-time exemption from personal appearance.

Their counsel told the court that the Prime Minister was out of the country on an official tour while Hamza sought exemption on medical grounds.

Earlier, counsel of Suleman told the court that the employees of the companies, owned by Suleman, had not been paid their salaries for over a year since the FIA froze their bank accounts.

He said the accounts had nothing to do with PO Suleman as he was only a shareholder not the owner of the companies.

He submitted that thousands of employees of the companies, Chiniot Mines and Ramzan Sugar Mills had not been paid their salaries since the FIA froze the bank accounts.

The FIA had booked Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with Section 3/4 of Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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