Panama Papers probe: Sharif questioned for three hours

RSTV Bureau
Islamabad : Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as he appears outside the premises of Joint Investigation Team in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 15, 2017. Sharif appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed team investigating allegations against his family's offshore companies and money laundering. AP/PTI

Islamabad : Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as he appears outside the premises of Joint Investigation Team in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 15, 2017. Sharif appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed team investigating allegations against his family’s offshore companies and money laundering. AP/PTI

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed team probing the Panama papers corruption case.

Sharif denied all allegations of corruption slapped against him and his family and accused his political opponents of hatching a conspiracy against him.

“Today, I have just presented my stance before the JIT,” Sharif told reporters after appearing before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing his family’s alleged corruption as was reported by the Panama Papers leaks.

“It should be noted that these allegations have nothing to do with my tenure as the prime minister and are not charges of corruption. They are charges against me and my family on a personal level about the family business,” Sharif said after nearly three hours of questioning by the six-member team.

The summons was issued to Sharif, 67, after he returned last Saturday from Kazakhstan where he had attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.

In its judgement of April 20 in the Panama Papers case, the Supreme Court had constituted a JIT and empowered it to summon the prime minister, his sons and any other person necessary, to investigate allegations of money-laundering, through which the four apartments in London’s posh Park Lane area were purchased.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks to reporters outside the premises of the Joint Investigation Team, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 15, 2017. Sharif appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed team investigating allegations against his family's offshore companies and money laundering.AP/PTI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks to reporters outside the premises of the Joint Investigation Team, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 15, 2017. Sharif appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed team investigating allegations against his family’s offshore companies and money laundering.AP/PTI

“My opponents have levied charges of corruption against me, however, neither in the past, nor in the present, have any charges of corruption been proved against me and my family,” a defiant Sharif said.

“All conspiracies of our political opponents will fail,” he added.

The Joint Investigation Team had questioned Sharif’s sons — Hussain and Hasan — last month over the family’s alleged improper business dealings.

His eldest son Hussain was questioned five times while Hasan, the younger son, was summoned twice.

The court last year took up the case and issued a split decision over allegations of money laundering when Sharif was prime minister in 1990s.

On May 5, the Supreme Court set up a high-level six-member JIT to probe Sharif and his sons’ alleged corruption in the Panama Papers case.

The JIT is bound to complete the probe in 60 days unless it is granted additional time.

The JIT probing the offshore holdings of Prime Minister Sharif and his children has also summoned his younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, to appear before it on June 17.

(With inputs from agencies)