British paper reveals money laundering of millions of pounds aid to Shehbaz govt in Punjab
LONDON: British authorities have decided to initiate a probe into the millions of Pounds funds the UK sent to the government of Shehbaz Sharif as aid, a British newspaper has made startling revelations in its report.
شہباز شریف پر منی لانڈرنگ کا الزام، برطانوی اخبار کے مطابق دور اقتدار میں زلزلے متاثرین کی امداد میں منی لانڈرنگ کی گئی۔#ARYNews #shehbazsharif
Posted by ARY News on Saturday, July 13, 2019
The report claimed that the paper was given exclusive access to some of the results of a high-level probe ordered by the government of Pakistan. The paper said it was also able to interview key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen Aftab Mehmood.
He claims he laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators.
The paper said that Shehbaz and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain.
They are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects.
The report said that legal documents allege that Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1 million from a fund established to rebuild the lives of earthquake victims, to which DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers.
Investigators have launched inquiries into alleged thefts from DFID-funded schemes to give poor women cash to lift them out of poverty and to provide healthcare for rural families.
Stolen millions were laundered in Birmingham and then allegedly transferred to Shehbaz’s family’s accounts by UK branches of banks including Barclays and HSBC, report said.
Self-confessed Birmingham money-launderer Aftab Mehmood told that he had his accounts audited every three months by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – who failed to notice anything was amiss.
Britain’s National Crime Agency is working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid is discussing the possible extradition of members of Shahbaz’s family who have taken refuge in London, according to the report.
Shahbaz’s son Suleman has, however, denied the allegations against him and his family. ‘No allegation has been proven. There is no evidence of kickbacks,’ he said.
Former International Development Secretary of UK, Priti Patel, has demanded an inquiry. She told the newspaper “As someone who has served as Secretary of State at DFID, I find it shocking that British funds may have been abused, especially given the background of poverty alleviation in Pakistan.