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August 20, 2019

Approvers against Shahbaz’s family seek bail

Top Story

August 20, 2019

LAHORE: Two suspects, who recently turned approvers in a money laundering case against the family members of NA Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif, approached the Lahore High Court on Monday for post-arrest bail.

Aftab Mahmood and Shahid Rafiq — the approvers — filed their petitions through senior lawyer Kazim Ali Malik, pleading that they were no more required by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The petitioners said they already recorded their statements before the chairman of the NAB and the judicial magistrate concerned.

In his statement, Aftab Mahmood claimed to have laundered millions of dollars during the period from 2008 to 2009 through at least 24 Telegraph Transfers (TT) to Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz, his brother Suleman Shahbaz, his mother Nusrat Shahbaz and sister Rabia Imran. He confessed to have laundered over $2.4 million for the Sharifs. He said all the money was transferred through his UK-based currency exchange company namely Usman International to the members of the Shahbaz Sharif family. He said the TTs were used to be sent with fake identifies.

He claimed that he managed transfer of huge money to the Sharif family from different companies of the United Kingdom and banks including Barclays and HSBC. Mahmood said he started money laundering for the Sharif family on the instigation of his cousin Shahid Rafiq who also had business of currency exchange in Pakistan.

The other approver, Rafiq, said he used to pick cash from the office of Suleman to send it abroad and to bring it back to the country finally through foreign TTs. He said the whole process had been carried out to whiten the black money. He said he had been running franchises of two currency exchange companies Zarco and AAA.

He confessed to have transferred money to the Sharif family in connivance with Mahmood with fake identities. The suspect regretted his criminal act and sought forgiveness from the NAB chairman.

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