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October 21, 2017

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Nawaz indicted in third reference

ISLAMABAD: Following indictment in two corruption references of Flagship Investments and Azizia Steel Company, Hill Metal Establishment, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on  Friday was indicted in third Flagship Investments reference by an Accountability Court, to which also he "pleaded not guilty".

It is established that the six benami properties including Flagship Investments and Capital FZE were established in the names of Hassan and Hussain. The Sharif family is the owner of these properties and it allegedly committed corruption. 

Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz who are co-accused in the two corruption references have already been declared absconders and their trial was separated by the accountability court.

On October 19, the court indicted Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar in Avenfield (London) Apartments reference, where Hassan and Hussain are also the accused. On the same day, Nawaz Sharif was also indicted in Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment corruption reference.

Flagship is the corruption reference regarding establishment of offshore companies that, according to the NAB, were used to hide fund transactions. Today when accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir indicted Nawaz Sharif in Flagship Investments corruption reference, he was once again represented by a pleader, Zaafir Khan advocate.

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir in today’s order noted: “A charge is framed to which accused Nawaz Sharif (through his pleader) has pleaded not guilty and submissions are also recorded. Other two accused (Hassan and Hussain) are still absconding.” The Accountability Court has summoned a prosecution witness namely Jehangir Ahmed to record his statement on the next date of hearing on October 26.

In the Flagship reference, the NAB alleged that Nawaz Sharif and his sons established Flagship Investment Limited and 15 other companies to use,manage and acquire expensive properties and movement of funds to hide the real sources of funds.

These include Flagship Investments Limited, Hartstone Properties Limited, Que Holdings Limited, Quint Eaton Place 2 Limited, Quint Saloane Limited (formerly Quint Eaton Place Limited), Quint Limited, Flagship Securities Limited, Quint Gloucester Place Limited, Quint Paddington Limited (formerly Rivates Estates Limited), Flagship Developments Limited, Alanna Services Limited (British Virgin Island-BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron Inc, Ansbacher Inc, Coomber Inc; and Capital FZE (Dubai).

The Capital FZE is the company on whose Iqama, Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from holding public office through Supreme Court judgment of July 28.

NAB stated in the references that the anti-graft body prepared and filed these references in line with the Supreme Court’s directions based on material collected and referred to it by the Joint Investigation Team  in its report pertaining to the Panama papers.

According to NAB “it has been established that accused persons have failed to justify sources of funds for establishment and  possession of the above mentioned assets, companies and consequently disbursed pecuniary proceeds  amongst one another.”

The NAB also told the Accountability Court that the JIT had forwarded requests for mutual legal assistance to foreign jurisdictions and they are waiting for their response.          

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