Citing Pakistani Investigators, Mail on Sunday Publishes Report On Alleged Money Laundering by Shehbaz Sharif, His Family
Quoting Pakistani investigators, a report by a British newspaper Mail on Sunday has alleged that Shehbaz Sharif – Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President – and his family were involved in embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain.
“They [Pakistani [investigators] are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects,” the report said, which is based upon the claims made by NAB in the ongoing investigations.
And the newspaper itself admits that it has been campaigning against the UK giving aid to foreign countries. “Last week, The Mail on Sunday – which has campaigned against Britain’s policy of spending 0.7 per cent of national income, currently about £14 billion a year, on foreign aid – was given exclusive access [by NAB] to some of the results of a high-level probe ordered by Khan, who won elections last year. We were also able to interview key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen Aftab Mehmood.”
The report said Suleman Shehbaz denied the allegations against him and his family, saying they were the product of a ‘political witch-hunt’ ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan. “No allegation has been proven. There is no evidence of kickbacks,” he said.
According to The Daily Mail, legal documents prepared by NAB allege that Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1 million from a fund established to rebuild the lives of earthquake victims – to which DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers.
Moreover, the Pakistani investigators have launched inquiries into alleged thefts from DFID-funded schemes to give poor women cash to lift them out of poverty and to provide healthcare for rural families.
Also, the alleged stolen millions were laundered in Birmingham and then allegedly transferred to Shehbaz’s family’s accounts by UK branches of banks including Barclays and HSBC.
“Self-confessed Birmingham money-launderer Aftab Mehmood told the MoS that he had his accounts audited every three months by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – who failed to notice anything was amiss,” it added
It also claimed that Britain’s National Crime Agency is working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid is discussing the possible extradition of members of Shehbaz’s family who have taken refuge in London.
“After winning election on a pledge to combat corruption, Imran Khan set up a special team to deal with it, the Asset Recovery Unit, headed by a UK-educated barrister. They have examined a series of suspicious transactions running to many millions and shown that Shahbaz’s family’s assets grew enormously during the years he was in power,” said the newspaper.
It also claimed, on the basis of the claims made by Pakistani investigators, that the Sharif family was worth just £150,000 in 2003, but by 2018 their total assets had grown to about £200 million. “Among other properties, Shehbaz owns a 53,000 sq ft palace in Lahore, which has its own large security force,” said the report.
According to the report, the family’s legitimate income sources could not account for their riches.
The money, the report said, was channelled from abroad – via several elaborate money-laundering schemes, in which Britain played a central role.
The report also claimed laundered payments were made to Shehbaz’s children, his wife and his son-in-law Ali Imran. But it added Shehbaz “was the principal beneficiary of this money-laundering enterprise, by way of spending, acquisition of properties and their expansion into palatial houses where he lived.”