Bankers were being harassed by private bank officials, says FIA
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has backtracked from summoning bankers in a money laundering case against the family of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.
The agency says the bankers were being pressured by a private bank official who is a former director of the FIA.
On September 18, the FIA had filed a petition before Judicial Magistrate Kamran Zafar saying it needed to record statements of 26 accused in the case. The judicial magistrate remarked that this should happen in the court.
At the hearing on Thursday, the FIA withdrew their request to record the statements of bankers because, the agency said, they were being harassed by private bank officials.
The FIA said the bankers were harassed by Asim Soori, the vice president of MCB Bank. They found evidence of harassment from his mobile record which proved that he had pressured the bankers into hiding key information about Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Sharif, the FIA claimed.
The investigation agency said if the bankers had agreed to name the two Sharifs, the connection between fake accounts and beneficiaries would have been established.
However, the FIA said, the former FIA director harassed bankers through a WhatsApp group created by him. He had threatened them with consequences, it said.
The FIA told the court that banks have been directed to record voluntary statements of bankers. The court should be allowed to withdraw the application till all the evidence was provided.
The court allowed the FIA to withdraw the application and said that the investigating officer can file the request again when they deem it necessary.
NAB has accused Shehbaz Sharif of money laundering and owning assets beyond means.
The evidence collected revealed that Shehbaz, his sons Hamza Shehbaz and Suleman Shahbaz and his wife Nusrat Shehbaz had net assets of Rs14.8 million in 1998, according to the accountability bureau.
Shehbaz in “connivance with his other family members/benamidars accumulated assets to the tune of Rs7,328 million till 2018”.
The amount is “disproportionate to known sources of income and for which neither the accused nor his other family members/benamidars could reasonably account for.”
Shehbaz’s lawyer had, however, argued that a reference has been filed and investigation completed, adding that all questionnaires mentioned by NAB have been answered too.