No direct money-deposit in bank accounts of Shehbaz and Hamza, FIA tells court

Hamza appears before court, Shehbaz’s counsel requests day’s exemption due to official engagements

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has told a special court of Lahore in the Rs16 billion money laundering case against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and former chief minister of Punjab, Hamza Shehbaz, that there was no direct deposit of money in their bank accounts.

FIA’s counsel Farooq Bajwa disclosed the statement in the acquittal pleas of the PM and his son. The court had directed the prosecution and defence to furnish arguments.

PM Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman were booked under Anti-Money Laundering Act and Prevention of Corruption Act in November 2020 by FIA. PM Shehbaz and Hamza had already been granted bail by the court in the case whereas Suleman Shehbaz is absconding in the UK.

Hamza Shehbaz appeared before the court in today’s hearing whereas PM Shehbaz’s counsel, requesting for a day’s exemption informed the court that due to official engagements, his client could not appear before the court.

Judge Ejaz Awan asked about the number of accounts owned by Malik Maqsood [Maqsood Chaprasi]; upon which FIA counsel replied that the suspect had eight bank accounts in his name. He also told the court that according to the investigation there was no money deposited into the accounts of the suspects (Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz).

Hamza’s lawyer maintained that there was also no allegation of kickbacks, further saying that none of the witnesses had named Hamza or his father during investigation.

Upon the judge’s inquiry about the evidence to substantiate money laundering, FIA’s counsel said that they did not have any such evidence.

After the hearing, the judge asked both parties to wrap up arguments by tomorrow before adjourning the hearing.

According to previous investigation and challan of FIA, 28 benami accounts of Shehbaz family were found involved in Rs16.3 billion money laundering during 10 years period from 2008 to 2018. The challan also had stated that the amount was kept in a hidden account and was given to Shehbaz in personal capacity.

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