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Pakistan

Web Desk
July 6, 2018
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All you want to know about Nawaz Sharif’s Avenfield reference

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on 08th September 2017, filed four references in the accountability court against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his two sons -- Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz -- his daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar and Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar.

Three references filed against Nawaz Sharif and family included a reference relating to the Avenfield properties (Flats No16 and 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom); reference relating to establishment of Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Company, Jeddah, and the reference relating to the Flagship Investment Limited and 15 other companies. The fourth reference was filed against Ishaq Dar relating to possessing assets beyond known sources of income.

In the three references against Nawaz Sharif and his family, NAB has invoked Section-9 of the NAB Ordinance 1999 and it deals with illegal money and exchange of gifts and Sharif family and Dar can face up to 14 years imprisonment, heavy fines, and freezing of property if the accountability court rules that a violation of Section 9 of the NAB Ordinance 1999 has taken place as suggested in the report of the Panama Papers case JIT.

The London properties owned by Sharif family were revealed in Panama Papers. The luxury flats, Nawaz Sharif has been using since 90s, were bought from illegitimate money, an accusation the ruling family denies.

They claim that a trust administered by the family bought the assets in 2006 after selling a paper mill in Saudi Arabia.

The four properties in question are flats 16, 16a, 17 and 17a in Avenfield House, an apartment block on Park Lane in London, next to Hyde Park on the edge of Mayfair, the capital’s most expensive district.

They were owned by shell companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, a popular tax haven. Leaked Panama documents further show that in 2008 Sharif’s daughter Mariam and son Hussain used the assets of those two companies and a third BVI company called Coomber Group to raise a £7M loan from the Swiss arm of Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The apex court, in it's Panama Papers case, had directed the accountability court to decide the case within six months but the AC has sought extension in the references thrice.

Case history:

Oct 19, 2017: Sharif family members were indicted in the case.

Oct 29, 2017: Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar were indicted in the Avenfield flats case.

Dec 04, 2017: Nawaz Sharif's sons Hussain and Hasan Nawaz were declared as proclaimed offenders.

Jan 22, 2018: The National Accountability Bureau filed a supplementary reference against the former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, his children and son-in-law after receiving response from the foreign jurisdiction regarding which the joint investigation team (JIT) had done some correspondence seeking mutual legal assistance.

Feb 23, 2018: Forensic expert Robert Radley during cross examination admitted that the Calibri font was available in a limited scale in 2005.

March 07, 2018: The Supreme Court extended deadline of corruption cases against Sharif family by two months.

May 23, 2018: Nawaz Sharif recorded his statement in the Avenfield reference, stating that pressure increased after Musharraf treason case.

May 28, 2018: Maryam in her statement denied ownership of London flats and shell companies.

May 30, 2018: Capt (retd) Safdar stated in his statement that he is being targeted to pressurise Nawaz Sharif.

June 07, 2018: NAB prosecutor told the court that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif is the actual owner of London flats.

June 10, 2018: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the court to complete trial on references against Sharifs within a month.

June 11, 2018: Following Supreme Court orders to complete trial in a month, Nawaz Sharif counsel Khawaja Haris withdrew from the case.

July 03, 2018: AFter all the parties concluded their arguments, the accountability court reserved the verdict to be announced today.

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