Shehbaz Sharif to appear before NAB in money laundering case today

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LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif will appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a money laundering case.

A day earlier, Shehbaz approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking pre-arrest bail in the assets beyond means and money-laundering inquiries by the anti-graft body.

The opposition leader in the National Assembly, through his lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar, moved the bail petition, making NAB chairman and other respondents. A two-member bench, comprising Justice Tariq Abbasi and Justice Farooq Haider, will hear the case today.

Shehbaz, in his petition, stated that the corruption watchdog’s assets beyond means inquiry against him was based on mala fide intentions as it had been initiated at the behest of the incumbent government. He added that the Bureau levelled charges against him without any shred of evidence as he had been declaring his assets regularly.

The PML-N leader added he was also arrested in the same case in 2018 and he had fully cooperated with NAB investigators, however, the anti-graft body did not present any proof against him relating to misuse of powers or money-laundering, etc.

Shehbaz’s lawyer stated that his client had been declaring his assets since he stepped into politics in 1988 and nothing had been concealed ever. He refuted money-laundering allegations, saying the whole story was fabricated and concocted.

He added that during an inquiry or investigation, NAB could not invoke the provisions of anti-money laundering law, adding that allegations against him were of a documentary nature and all necessary documents had already been provided to the Bureau. Shehbaz further stated that he feared that NAB might arrest him in connection with its pending inquiries, which would hinder him from performing his duties as the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

The Bureau had earlier summoned Shehbaz for June 2 (today) to record his statement regarding details of properties inherited by him. NAB had said that from 1998 to 2018, the assets of Shehbaz’s family grew exponentially.

As a public office-holder, the PML-N leader needs to explain the increase in his assets, NAB added. It has also asked Shehbaz to submit bank details along with the loans taken from Barclays Bank from 2005 to 2007.

Furthermore, NAB also sought details of all gifts received and given by the family, details of agriculture income from 2008 to 2019 and details about the utilisation of Shehbaz’s Model Town residence as chief minister’s camp office.

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