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IANS

A special court in Lahore on Friday declared Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's son, Suleman Shehbaz, and another suspect as proclaimed offenders in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case, media reports said.

Lahore's Special Court (Central-I) declared Suleman and Tahir Naqvi as proclaimed offenders after both the suspects failed to appear before the court despite being summoned, Dawn reported.

On June 11, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had submitted a report about non-bailable arrest warrants issued against Suleman, Naqvi and others.

In its report, the FIA had stated that the warrants could not be executed since Suleman was not present at his address and had gone abroad, Dawn reported.

Moreover, the court accepted the request for granting Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif a one-time exemption from attending the hearing, but directed that he appeared before the court at the next hearing.

The FIA had booked Shehbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza and Suleman in November 2020 under Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti Money Laundering Act.

The FIA had in December 2021 submitted the challan against Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza to a special court for their alleged involvement in laundering an amount of Rs 16 billion in the sugar scam case, Dawn reported.

"The investigation team has detected 28 benami accounts of Shehbaz Sharif family through which money laundering of Rs 16.3 billion was committed during 2008-18. The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions," according to an FIA report submitted to the court.

The amount was kept in "hidden accounts" and given to Shehbaz Sharif in a personal capacity, the report added.

This amount (Rs 16 billion) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of the Shehbaz family), it claimed. The money received from the accounts of low-wage employees by Shehbaz Sharif was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for the beneficial use of his family members, the FIA had alleged.

"Eleven low-paid employees of the Sharif group who 'held and possessed' the laundered proceeds on behalf of the principal accused, are found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The three other co-accused of the Sharif group also actively facilitated the money laundering," the agency said, Dawn reported

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