Pakistan prime minister’s son acquitted in £44.5m money laundering case
Suleiman, the son of prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, had returned to Pakistan in December of the previous year after a self-imposed exile in London that lasted four years
In January, the FIA cleared Suleman in the sugar mills case due to a lack of evidence (Image Credit: Twitter)
A special court in Pakistan acquitted Suleman Shahbaz, the son of prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, and all other accused individuals named in the Rs 16 billion (more than £44.5 million) money laundering case initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The order was issued on Monday (10) by the special court in Lahore after considering the pleas filed by Suleman and the other defendants, who sought their acquittal.
According to Geo News, Suleman accompanied by his counsel, was present in court when the announcement was made.
He had returned to Pakistan in December of the previous year after a self-imposed exile in London that lasted four years.
Apart from his involvement in the money laundering case, he was also implicated in an assets-beyond-means reference.
Suleman had been declared a proclaimed offender in both cases.
Prior to his return, the Islamabad High Court had issued a restraining order to prevent the FIA and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting him.
In January, the FIA cleared Suleman in the sugar mills case due to a lack of evidence.
However, regarding the money laundering case, the FIA has submitted responses to the court’s 27 questions pertaining to the matter.
During the court proceedings, Judge Bakht Fakhar Behzad inquired about the individuals involved in the inquiry of the money laundering case.
The FIA’s lawyer informed the court that a joint investigation team, led by a late FIA official, had conducted the inquiry.
“Tell me straight away, don’t make up stories, I have read it all. I will send all the FIA people to jail now, remember this. I want an answer, what proof of crime was there with the challan?” the judge asked.
Suleman’s counsel, Advocate Amjad Parvez, said that the case is baseless and he had spoken against it. The court then asked, under whose pressure the case was filed.
The prosecutor said that there was no direct evidence and Suleman was declared accused in the light of the form used to open the account.
After the hearing, the court acquitted all the accused including Suleman in the money laundering case.
“Thanks be to Allah that the facts came before the people, today by the grace of Allah we have been exonerated,” Suleman told reporters outside the court.
(With inputs from PTI)