Impression about acquittal of Shehbaz, his son from British court is incorrect: SAPM Akbar

Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar has said that the ruling by a British court does not mention the acquittal of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his son Suleman in the money laundering case.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, Akbar said that the impression about the acquittal of the PML-N president and his son from a London court is incorrect.

He added that the order released by the UK court does not mention the acquittal.

The SAPM maintained that the investigation by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) against Suleman Shehbaz and some of his family members was not initiated at the request of Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) or NAB, but Pakistan was contacted over the two suspicious transactions by the NCA.

“Pakistan responded to the NCA on the questions asked by it, but the case was not filed by Pakistan,” he added.

He mentioned that the NCA has recently decided to stop investigations in the case and agreed to release the funds through court. “Such a release order is not an acknowledgment that funds are from a legitimate source,” he remarked.

“There is no acquittal of any sort as reported as there was no trial. Funds were frozen by NCA and NCA has decided to not investigate these funds anymore.”

He pointed out that the opposition leader is facing money laundering charges in Pakistani courts and the statements of the witnesses are being recorded. “The verdict will come soon in the cases,” he said.

British court unfreezes accounts

On September 27, a British court ordered the unfreezing of the bank accounts of Shehbaz and his son, Suleman, after the NCA concluded there was no evidence of money laundering, fraud, and criminal conduct against the two.

The Westminster Magistrates Court’s Judge Nicholas Rimmer set aside the two accounts freezing orders (AFO) against Shehbaz and his son related to a December 2019 case filed by the NCA.

The bank accounts of Shehbaz and Suleman were frozen in December 2019 on a court order.

Reaction by PML-N

The PML-N seemed happy over the decision by British authorities, terming it as a proof of its vindication.

 

In a tweet, Shehbaz said, “Today’s decision by UK court is not just my or Nawaz Sharif’s vindication but that of Pakistan too.”

“Certainly truth has greater power than all the lies, fabricated stories & character assassination!”

PML-N’s Hina Pervez Butt said the NCA had investigated financial transactions spanning over 20 years and a British court had acquitted Shehbaz and his family from the money laundering allegations.