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Pakistan

PM Shehbaz, son Hamza acquitted in money laundering case

  • Acquittal comes a day after FIA prosecutor argued in favour of quashing the case against the father-son duo
Published October 12, 2022

A special court in Lahore on Wednesday acquitted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, in a Rs16 billion money laundering case, Aaj News reported.

The decision was announced by Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan after the court had reserved the verdict in the case earlier in the day.

Court to indict PM Shehbaz, Hamza on Sept 7 in money-laundering case

The premier and his son were not present in the court when the verdict was announced. Their lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz, had earlier filed a request for exemption from appearance as the prime minister was busy with official engagements and Hamza was unwell.

The acquittal comes a day after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor argued in favour of quashing the case against the father-son duo, stressing that there was no direct allegation against PM Shehbaz and Hamza to establish their guilt in the case.

Indictment of Shehbaz, Hamza postponed till 17th

Earlier this month, the FIA cleared PM Shehbaz and Hamza Shehbaz of money laundering accusations of Rs16 billion, citing a lack of concrete evidence against them in the case.

In response to the judge's inquiries on Tuesday, the FIA prosecutor informed the court that Malik Maqsood aka Maqsood Chaprasi, the deceased key figure in the money laundering case, had been running eight bank accounts and that all of the details were included in the challan filed to the court.

Farooq Bajwa, the FIA's prosecutor, further contended that the record demonstrates that the amounts were never deposited or removed from PM Shehbaz Sharif's or Hamza's bank accounts.

Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman were booked by the FIA in November 2020 under sections of financial fraud, impersonation and forgery, and criminal misconduct of the Prevention of Corruption Act and read with 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Last year, the FIA had submitted a challan in a banking court against Shehbaz and his two sons, Hamza and Salman, citing them as the main suspects in a money laundering case.

The investigation team allegedly found 28 Benami accounts that were operated under Shehbaz and his household staff members’ names from 2008 to 2018 — while the opposition leader was chief minister and Hamza was a member of the National Assembly.

Following the verdict's announcement, the premier said the case against him was "fake, baseless, and based on political vengeance".

"No matter how much I thank God for this, it won't be enough," he said in a tweet.

Reacting to the development, the PML-N in a Twitter post said: “Another fabricated case created for political victimisation comes to its inevitable end.”

Felicitating the premier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Ata Tarar said that with the verdict the “narrative of vindictive accountability of the Imran-era has been buried.”

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