Pakistani court acquits PM, son in money laundering case

Pakistani court acquits PM, son in money laundering case

12 Oct 2022 ( )

A Pakistani court has acquitted Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son of corruption and money laundering charges filed in 2020.

Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan of the Special Court Central in Lahore city announced the verdict on Wednesday in front of the prime minister’s legal team, who had earlier during the hearing requested a one-day attendance exemption.

Sharif and his son Hamza, the former chief minister of Punjab province, were charged during the administration of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. They were accused of laundering millions of dollars in rupees.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore filed corruption and money laundering charges against Sharif and his two sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020, accusing them of laundering 16.3 billion rupees (nearly $200m) through 28 bank accounts, which had no names for the account holders, between 2008 and 2018.

Suleman has not been tried since moving to London after the charges were filed.

The case in Special Court in Lahore was “totally baseless and politically motivated”, said Sharif’s lawyer Amjad Pervez.

There was no immediate comment from the prosecutor.

In Pakistan, members of successive governments have targeted political opponents by filing legal cases against them, apparently to keep them entangled in court proceedings and away from the political arena.

Sharif, the brother of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was elected prime minister by Pakistan’s parliament earlier this year, following a week of political turmoil that led to Khan’s removal.