UK court to hand over Shahbaz Sharif money laundering case to Pakistan

Westminster Court of Justice. Photo: AFP
  • A UK court rules that Pakistan’s ARU must have access to the full file of the NCA’s investigation into Shahbaz Sharif’s money laundering case.
  • Orders of the parties to the case had the right to redact portions of files containing personal information.
  • Reveals that the ARU engaged in cooperation with the NCA several months before the investigation and until the conclusion of the case.

LONDON: The Westminster Magistrates’ Court has ruled that the full National Crime Agency file relating to the money laundering investigation of Shehbaz Sharif and Suleman Sharif can be released to Pakistan’s Assets Recovery Unit (ARU).

District Judge Godfrey has ruled on an ARU request at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that he needs access to the full record of the NCA’s money laundering investigation into Shehbaz Sharif and others after an exclusive report in The news revealed that the NCA had dropped a high-profile investigation into Shehbaz and her son after finding no evidence of money laundering, criminal conduct and abuse of public office.

The full dossier, when released soon, will further corroborate the story posted on Geo News.

District Judge Godfrey ruled it was in the interest of open justice that the full case be made public as soon as possible. The news had already published parts of it and some of its content was already in the public domain and also that the various court hearings that took place, as the investigation progressed, were not in camera closed.

The news report had revealed that the ARU was involved in extensive cooperation with NCA investigators several months before the start of the investigation in December 2019 and until the case was closed in November 2021.

The judge ruled that it was reasonable to release the full NCA file, but the judge ordered that Sharifs, Zulfikar Ahmed and the NCA have the right to delete portions of the files containing personal information. It is understood that the full filing will be released soon once Sharifs’ lawyer and the NCA agree on the redactions.

In his request, Barrister Zia Nasim, an ARU solicitor and legal expert at the Prime Minister’s Office of the Asset Recovery Unit in Islamabad, told the court that the ARU intends to file a lawsuit. against this journalist at Ofcom “in light of serious misrepresentation / dissemination of material facts by The journalist”.

The ARU’s request said: “However, in order to assess the merits of such a complaint, it is essential to have access to the documents submitted by the ANC to the court, to which the journalist referred during the interview. broadcast and reporting.”

The court informed the NCA, Shehbaz Sharif and Suleman’s lawyer and their friend Zulfikar Ahmed of the ARU’s request and asked them to make representations.

At least three District Court hearings have taken place so far, in which Sharif’s lawyer and Zulfikar Ahmed objected to the release of the full report, arguing that the full file contains several hundred pages and contains personal information of the Respondents that is not related to the investigation itself and the ARU should not obtain any personal details of the Sharifs as these will be used for political victimization purposes.

They alleged the ARU needed access to the UK investigation to use the information for its own purposes. Zulfikar Ahmed said he is an apolitical person and would not like his work and family information made public.

This correspondent represented himself in person and informed the magistrate that The news report was only based on six pages of the total package of hundreds of pages and it was inexplicable that the ARU needed access to the complete file when it could file a complaint based on the reported facts that were in the field public. This correspondent argued that if the court decides to release the full file to the ARU, then it should be able to obtain the same file to challenge the ARU’s UK court case.

The NCA said it would remain neutral on the matter and abide by what the court decides. Lawyer Zia Nasim argued that the ARU should be given the full brief because “it is an interested party” and “the ARU’s December 11, 2019 letter to the ANC has been presented to the Court and was mentioned by the journalist and the respondents during the press conferences” and that Shahbaz Sharif read on September 29, 2021 the court document titled “Grounds for Suspicion” during a press conference.

Attorney Zia Nasim also revealed that the NCA was in contact with the ARU on December 7, 2019 regarding the Shehbaz Sharif and Suleman case – before the NCA’s David Scruton held a meeting with a senior NAB officer. in London and about two weeks before the NCA officially calls for the freeze. Accounts. It relied on the principles relating to AFOs set out in the recent Divisional Court decision in Javadov v Westminster Magistrates Court and R (Guardian News and Media Ltd) v City of Westminster Magistrates Court where the court decided to release the records .

The judge also ordered that a copy of the final redacted file also be provided to this correspondent and to Mr Martin Bentham, Home Affairs Editor of the Evening Standard.

Originally published in

The news