Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Tuesday refuted reports of ‘acquittal’ of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shahbaz Sharif and his son Suleman Shahbaz in a money laundering case by a London court.
Addressing a press conference, Akbar said the impression of Shahbaz and his son Suleman’s acquittal from the UK court in money laundering case was ‘wrong’ adding that order released by the UK court does not mention the acquittal.
A British court on Monday acquitted Shehbaz and his family in money laundering allegations and ordered to unfreeze bank accounts of the leader of opposition in National Assembly and his family after the UK authorities were unable to find evidences of corruption, money laundering or criminal activities against them.
The bank accounts of Shehbaz and Suleiman were frozen in December 2019 on a court order, while the transactions of the accounts were subject to a high-level investigation. The initiative was taken following a request from Pakistan to the British government to recover the looted money.
In the press conference, Akbar claimed the reports about the alleged ‘acquittal’ of Shahbaz and his son were incorrect and misreporting.
The Advisor maintained the investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) against Suleman and some of his family members was not initiated at the request of Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) or the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). However, he said, the NCA contacted Pakistan over the two suspicious transactions.
"The NCA shared few names with Pakistan in this context, and the country responded to the British agency's questions in this regard," he said, adding the Pakistani authorities did not file the case.
The advisor added the British court issued the two-page verdict on September 10 and Shehbaz’s name was not mentioned in the written order.
He further explained that no case was filed against Shehbaz outside the country, saying the impression of the PML-N to project the theory was absolutely wrong. However, there are still "two money laundering cases against PML-N president in Pakistan", he added.
The premier's advisor said recently the NCA decided to stop investigating these funds and therefore agreed to release them through court.
Akbar further said such a release order was not an acknowledgment that the funds in the accounts were received from a legitimate source.
"The judgment of money laundering cases against the opposition leader will be issued from Pakistani courts where the statements of witnesses are being recorded," he added.
He said the NAB is conducting inquiry of money laundering of Rs7 billion against Shahbaz as well as the Federal Investigation Agency is also investigating fake transaction of Rs25 billion against the PML-N leader.