Pakistan SC questions money trail of PM Nawaz Sharif's London flats
Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the money trail of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's flats in London with one of the judges observing that there was no bank record of money being transferred from Pakistan to a foreign country.
Hearing a case pertaining to the alleged offshore wealth of Sharif's family in London, the apex court said the family had not presented documents for companies it had mentioned. In fact, documents had been hidden from the court, it said.
"Why were the documents hidden?" the court asked Akram Sheikh, the lawyer for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's children.
"If you say that you are a shareholder, you will have to give evidence," Geo TV quoted Justice Azmat Saeed as saying.
Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan's counsel Naeem Bukhari submitted a two-page summary of a transaction questioning the Sharif family's investment of 12 million dirhams in Qatar in 1980 despite owing the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) 14 million dirhams.
Justice Sheikh remarked that the Sharifs had failed to explain how they had cleared the aforementioned dues in 1980. He also observed that the Sharifs had also failed to explain how they had financed the construction of Jeddah Steel Mills.
The bench also observed that there was no similarity between the signatures of premier Sharif's cousin Tariq Shafi on an affidavit and a contract presented before the court.
Bukhari also contended that the Sharifs had failed to produce a single document showing how money had been transferred from Pakistan to Dubai, Doha, Jeddah and London.
Separately, PTI chief Imran Khan said the apex court had done the right thing by questioning the absence of a money trail as the Sharifs did not have the money they claimed to possess.
"Today's proceedings in the apex court have exposed the discrepancy in the family's documents and statements," Khan told journalists.
"Though the case is ongoing, it technically stands dissolved courtesy the aforementioned discrepancy," he was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
Imran Khan's party claims to have come up with fresh evidence this week to press its stance that Sharif's London properties had been purchased in the 1990s rather than the ruling family's claim of buying them in 2006.
On Monday, during the hearing, the PTI contended that the Sharif family owned both Nelson and Nescol companies in 1999.
On November 15, Prime Minister Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz submitted documentary evidence on the legitimacy of their assets before the top court, claiming a Qatari prince paid for their London apartment.
On November 3, the premier denied holding offshore companies in a written response to the Supreme Court on Panamagate petitions. In his reply, Sharif said he had declared all his assets in 2013, hence was not liable for disqualification under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
A treasure trove of classified documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca in April claimed that three scions of the Sharif family were among dozens of powerful people who owned offshore businesses across international tax havens.
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