Pakistan launches Panama papers probe

Notices issued to Premier Nawaz Sharif's 2 sons and a daughter to explain allegedly illicit money trail

Pakistan launches Panama papers probe

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pakistani tax authorities have launched a much-awaited probe into Panama Papers allegations of tax evasion and money laundering within the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and hundreds of others through offshore companies, officials said Saturday.

Mohammad Iqbal, spokesperson for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the official tax collection agency, told reporters that notices had been served on over 350 politicians, businessmen, and media organ owners, including Sharif’s two sons and a daughter, asking them to explain in 15 days if the money trail for establishment of offshore companies was lawful.

The move coincides with two major opposition rallies in northeastern Lahore and Rawalpindi, where the army is headquartered, demanding investigation of the allegations.

Sharif, now serving his third term as premier, has been facing tremendous pressure from the opposition and media after the Panama Papers revealed that his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz and daughter Mariyam Nawaz owned offshore companies.

Sharif, however, claims that all the transactions made by his family members were fair and in compliance with the law.

Earlier this year, Sharif's eldest son Hussain Nawaz admitted in a television interview that his family owned the offshore companies as well as London flats. He insisted that the transactions involved were all legal and refused to make his assets public, claiming that doing so might harm his business interests.

Sharif came into power for a third term following his right-wing Pakistan Muslim League party’s landslide victory in the 2013 elections. His previous two terms as prime minister had ended prematurely under pressure from Pakistan military. Observers say that the latest Panama scandal has put fate of his rule in the balance.

The documents released by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) this April pointed to 140 politicians worldwide, among them 11 current or former national leaders, claiming they worked with a Panamanian law firm to establish shadow companies for global transactions and money laundering.

Their revelation sent shockwaves across the world, resulting in the resignation of Iceland’s Premier Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and pressure on then-British Prime Minister David Cameron, who admitted to having a profitable stake in a fund owned by his father.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Eylül 2016, 12:41