LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday quizzed Suleman Shehbaz, son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, about money laundering charges amounting to Rs16 billion in the sugar scam case.

“Suleman Shehbaz on Thursday appeared before an investigation team in the FIR 39/2020 related to the Ramzan Sugar Mills and benami accounts and responded to its queries. The next hearing of the case will be held on Jan 21,” said an FIA statement.

A couple of months ago, a special court of Lahore had acquitted PM Shehbaz and his elder son, Hamza Shehbaz, in this case. The FIA had booked Shehbaz and his two sons - Hamza and Suleman - in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with section 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Suleman and another co-suspect had been declared proclaimed offenders by the court for their constant absence from proceedings. However, he secured a bail that enabled his return over a month ago from London after a four-year self-exile.

According to FIA, the evidence suggested that Suleman Shehbaz aided and abetted his brother Hamza and thus found guilty of the same offence.

ILLEGAL CURRENCY: The FIA has arrested 70 suspects in its campaign against those involved in illegal currency business and its smuggling.

According to FIA Lahore, it launched a crackdown on the persons involved in illegal currency business and arrested 70 suspects over a month. Most suspects have been nabbed from different parts of Lahore, Gujranwala and Gujrat. Huge amount of foreign and local currency has been recovered from the suspects.

The FIA said some 22 shops/offices have also been sealed and an amount of Rs300 million recovered from them. The suspects have been booked under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947. The action against those involved in illegal currency business – hawala and hundi – has served as deterrence to the practice, it said.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2023

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