LAHORE: Shahbaz Sharif family stole and laundered millions of pounds of aid money, claims top UK Newspaper.
A new investigative report by the *Daily Mail link *has allegedly revealed that Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and his family were involved in money laundering in Britain.
According to the investigative report, Britain’s Department for International Development (DIFD) had given Sharif and his government taxpayers’ cash. Shehbaz and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it to Britain, claimed the report.
The high-level probe was ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan after he came into power last year.
“After winning election on a pledge to combat corruption, Imran Khan set up a special team to deal with it, the Asset Recovery Unit, headed by a UK-educated barrister. They have examined a series of suspicious transactions running to many millions and shown that Shehbaz’s family’s assets grew enormously during the years he was in power,” the report stated.
The report further revealed, the Sharif family was worth just £150,000 in 2003, but by 2018 their total assets had grown to about £200 million. "Among other properties, Shehbaz owns a 53,000 sq ft palace in Lahore, which has its own large security force,” said the report.
DFID said it was ‘well aware’ about Pakistan being ‘corrupt environment’. However, since 2014, DFID gave more aid to Pakistan than any other country – up to £463 million a year.
According to the report, the family’s legitimate income sources could not account for their riches.
The money, the report said, was channelled from abroad – via several elaborate money-laundering schemes, in which Britain played a central role.
The report also claimed laundered payments were made to Shehbaz’s children, his wife and his son-in-law Ali Imran. But it added Shehbaz "was the principal beneficiary of this money-laundering enterprise, by way of spending, acquisition of properties and their expansion into palatial houses where he lived."
The *Mail on Sunday* further revealed that according to the documents in its possession, Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1million from a fund established to rebuild the lives of earthquake victims – to which DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers.
“Investigators have launched inquiries into alleged thefts from DFID-funded schemes to give poor women cash to lift them out of poverty and to provide healthcare for rural families,” the report said.
Stolen millions were laundered in Birmingham and then allegedly transferred to Shehbaz’s family accounts by UK branches of banks including Barclays and HSBC, it added.
Self-confessed Birmingham money-launderer Aftab Mehmood told the *Mail on Sunday* that he had his accounts audited every three months by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – who failed to notice anything was amiss, the report said.
The publication stated that Britain’s National Crime Agency was working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid was discussing the possible extradition of members of Shehbaz’s family who have taken refuge in London.