The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday extended the bail of PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif till Monday. There were reports that the court might not extend the bail, and PML-N’s president could be arrested. However, Shehbaz Sharif once again got his bail extended.
The police were deployed outside the court to stop PML-N’s workers from entering into the court premises. Previously, LHC had extended interim bail of Shehbaz Sharif till September 22 in a money laundering case. The local administration also ensured stringent security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident.
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On June 1, Shehbaz Sharif had filed a bail plea in LHC to avoid arrest in assets beyond means and money laundering cases. The opposition leader, in his plea, took the stance that NAB might arrest him in a pending inquiry. The anti-corruption watchdog prepared the case with malicious intentions, Shehbaz stated.
Sharif family’s money laundering
According to the NAB investigation report, the Chief Financial Officer of the Sharif family Muhammad Usman laundered money for the Shehbaz family.
Muhammad Usman started working for the Sharif family in 2005 at Ramzan Sugar Mills for Rs 90,000 per month. In 2006, the Nawaz family acquired Hudaibiya Engineering from the Shehbaz family and in 2007, the Shehbaz family made more companies, including the Sharif Feed Mill, to expand their business.
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The bank accounts of Shehbaz Sharif’s wife Nusrat Shehbaz and his sons were used for foreign remittances and loans. On the direction of Salman, Waqar Trading Company made fake foreign remittances of Rs 600 million.
The entire amount was transferred to Salman Shehbaz’s personal account via cheque but it is not known where Salman received his money from.
Did Shehbaz Sharif steal money?
According to a confidential investigation report seen by the Daily Mail, millions of pounds were transferred into the bank accounts of Shehbaz’s family members, including his wife, children, and a son-in-law. It states to have interviewed key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen, Aftab Mehmood, who claims that he had laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham – without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.
According to Daily Mail, investigators are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded aid projects. For rehabilitating and rebuilding lives of the poor, the DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers; and the legal documents allege that Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1 million from that fund.
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As per claims by the Daily Mail, Britain’s National Crime Agency has been working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid discussing the possible extradition of members of Shehbaz’s family, who have taken refuge in London.
A confidential investigation report, seen by Daily Mail, says the family was worth just £150,000 in 2003 but by 2018 their total assets had grown to around £200 million. Among other properties, Shehbaz owns a 53,000 sq ft palace in Lahore, which has its own large security force. The money, the report says, was channeled from abroad – via several elaborate money-laundering schemes, in which Britain played a central role.