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Hamza Shehbaz remanded into 14-day NAB custody

Hamza Shehbaz remanded into 14-day NAB custody

Lahore: An accountability court Wednesday remanded Opposition leader in Pakistan's Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz to a 14-day physical custody, a day after the country's anti-graft body arrested him in cases related to money laundering and corruption.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was granted Hamza's custody till June 26. Judge Jawadul Hassan pronounced the reserved verdict after hearing the arguments from both sides in the case.

A NAB team earlier brought Hamza, 44, to the court amid tight security. Hamza is the son of PML-N president and National Assembly opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif. The NAB prosecutor informed the court that the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) vice president had failed to disclose the means from which he received Rs 500 million transferred into his account.

The NAB had requested for a 15-day physical remand of the PML-N leader. The court has ordered Hamza to be presented before the accountability court on June 26, Geo News reported.

Hamza was arrested Tuesday by the NAB officials after a two-member Lahore High Court (LHC) bench dismissed bail applications filed by him.

His arrest came a day after former president Asif Ali Zardari was arrested by NAB in Islamabad. Hamza is accused of laundering money through his front men who are already in NAB's custody.

He is under investigation in the Ramzan Sugar Mills, Saaf Paani project and assets beyond known means of income cases.

The NAB has found evidence of money laundering on a massive scale through which Shehbaz and his family accumulated assets in the UK.

According to sources privy to NAB's investigation, the illegally accumulated assets are worth Rs 85 billion to Rs 100 billion and were bought during Shebaz's tenure as the Punjab Chief Minister.

In the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case, Shehbaz and his son Hamza are accused of "fraudulently and dishonestly" causing a Rs 213 million loss to the national exchequer. Shehbaz was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in October 2018

and released on bail on February 14.

His brother and three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court's July 28, 2017 order in the Panama Papers case.

Both Sharif and his daughter Maryam have been sentenced to seven years in prison, respectively. Maryam's husband Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year in the same case.

Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing and allege that the corruption cases against them are politically motivated.

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