FIA decides against prosecuting PM Shehbaz, Hamza in money laundering case – Pakistan

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FIA) has decided not to prosecute Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif and Punjab Prime Minister Hamza Shebaz in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case, according to a letter written by the special counsel, which is now included in the case record.

In a written application dated 11 April 2022, filed with the court, the FIA ​​Director-General (DG), through the investigator, told Special Counsel Sikander Zulqarnain Saleem that “the defendants in this case do not appear in court because they will come forward. With the Prime Minister of Pakistan and “I will be elected Prime Minister of Punjab,” he said.

“The relevant department is not interested in prosecuting the accused,” it said, requesting that these instructions be made part of the case record.

Earlier this week, former FIA director Mohammad Rizwan, who was investigating the allegations against Shehbaz and his son, died of a heart attack.

The FIA ​​has reserved PM Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman pursuant to Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Anti-Corruption Act of November 2020 and has read three quarters of the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Suleman Shehbaz flees to England.

Fourteen other persons have also been appointed to the FIR under sections 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal conduct) of the Anti-Corruption Act.

A special court granted pre-arrest bail to Shehbaz and Hamza in this case on January 27.

After the agency filed the request on April 11, the court brought the application to the record and attached it to the case.

The FIA ​​raises objections and asserts that the suit is ‘not withdrawn’.

On May 14, ahead of the next trial, the FIA ​​released a press release denying the development, saying that “the case has not been withdrawn” and that court proceedings are ongoing.

The watchdog warned that legal action could be taken against those involved in the spread of news related to the letter.

“The prosecutor in the case submitted an application for opinions on the prosecutor’s shift to the court on April 11, and there he was instructed not to appear on behalf of the prosecutor. At the time, I referred to the investigator through the DG FIA. He is said to have requested not to appear in the prosecution. He wasn’t applying to appear,” he said in a press release.

It also added that Sanaullah Abbasi was the FIA ​​DG at the time and the new prime minister had not yet taken an oath when the application was filed with the court.

“Tahir Rai was appointed FIA DG on 22 April. This issue concerns the timing prior to arriving at the FIA.

Prosecutors said the change of prosecutors was ‘routine’ and that the same case had been repeated several times in the previous government.

Meanwhile, Saleem said the prosecution in the case has stopped as Shehbaz and Hamza now take office. “FIA officials have not expressed interest in the trial against Shehbaz, Hamza and others,” it added.

At the previous hearing, the court ordered the prime minister and others to attend the next hearing as there are no further delays.

“It is clear that [the] Next Hearing Date, Claim[s] All defendants must ensure their attendance.”

PTI is cursed

PTI leaders, along with Punjab Party Chairman Shafkat Mahmoud, slammed these developments, saying that the prime minister and his son would be “expected” to “whiten their sins”.

Shireen Mazari also asked who the “interested authorities” were who were not interested in tracking down the case.

Allegations against Hamza Shebaz

The FIA ​​filed Shehbaz and Hamza in a special court in December 2021 on charges of laundering 16 billion rupees in a sugar fraud case.

According to the FIA ​​report filed with the court, “The investigative team found 28 benami accounts of the Shehbaz family that had laundered Rs 16.3 billion in money during 2008-18. The FIA ​​investigated 17,000 credit tracking funds.” said.

This amount was kept in a “hidden account” and was provided to Shehbaz in a personal capacity, the report added.

This amount (Rs16bn) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of the Shehbaz family). The FIA ​​alleges that money Shehbaz received from the low-wage employee’s account was transferred out of Pakistan via the hundi/hawala network and ultimately used for his family.

“11 low-paid employees of Sharif Group who ‘hold and possess’ the laundered proceeds on behalf of the main defendants were convicted of facilitating money laundering. Three other co-defendants of Sharif Group also actively facilitated money laundering. . ” said the agency.

correction: The letter from the FIA ​​Attorney erroneously states that the letter from the FIA ​​Attorney was written on May 11th, three days before the charges against PM Shehbaz and Punjab CM Hamza on May 14th. This letter was actually dated April 11th. Sorry for the error. .