Corruption charges

Panama Papers: Book Nawaz Sharif and family for corruption, probe panel recommends

The Pakistan prime minister has rejected the report, calling it ‘trash’, but Opposition parties have asked him to resign.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court-ordered joint investigative panel on Monday filed its final report on a corruption case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

The probe team had been ordered after Sharif was named, with several hundred others cross the globe, in the Panama Papers leak in 2016. The leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca had divulged the hidden offshore wealth of several of the world’s top leaders and celebrities.

The probe panel said it found significant disparities in the income and actual wealth of Sharif and his family members, and recommended filing a corruption case against them, PTI reported. This includes Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain Sharif, and his daughter Maryam Sharif.

It also said there had been “irregular movement” of massive sums of money between Sharif and his son from several companies in Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. The joint investigative team also said the respondents had not provided substantive evidence of a proper money trail to buy expensive properties in the UK.

The panel said Sharif’s companies in the UK were loss-making and primarily engaged in moving funds around, The Hindu reported. These were used to justify buying properties in London. “The financial structure and health of companies in Pakistan having linkage to the Respondents also do not substantiate the wealth of the Respondents,” the report said said.“The role of off-shore companies is critically important as several offshore companies... have been identified to be linked with their businesses in UK while conducting this investigation. These companies were mainly used for inflow of funds into UK-based companies.”

Sharif and his family have criticised the report, calling it “trash”, and continued to deny any wrongdoing. The government has also rubbished the report, though Opposition parties in Pakistan are now demanding the prime minister resign.

Sharif continues to retain the status of a billionaire, and his declared assets last year stood at at 1.84 billion Pakistani rupees (Rs 1.13 billion).

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