Pakistani court acquits PM, son in money laundering case

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court Wednesday acquitted Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son of corruption and money laundering charges filed in 2020, a defense lawyer said.

Sharif and his son Hamza, the former chief minister of Punjab province, were charged during the administration of former prime minister Imran Khan. They were accused of laundering millions of dollars in rupees.

The case in Special Court in Lahore was “totally baseless and politically motivated,” said Sharif’s attorney Amjad Pervez.

The prosecutor was not immediately available for comment.

The Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore filed corruption and money laundering charges against Sharif and his two sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020.

Suleman has not been tried since moving to London after the charges were filed. The FIA accused the three men of laundering 16.3 billion rupees (nearly $200 million) between 2008 and 2018.

In Pakistan, members of successive governments have targeted political opponents by filing legal cases against them, apparently to keep them entangled in court proceedings and away from the political arena.

Sharif, the brother of disgraced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was elected prime minister by Pakistan’s parliament earlier this year, following a week of political turmoil that led to Khan’s ouster.

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