Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif on Friday appeared before Special Court Lahore in a Rs16 billion money laundering case filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against him and his son Hamza Shahbaz.

At the outset of today’s hearing, the premier’s lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz said that the first information report (FIR) registered against his clients mentioned they were involved in money laundering worth Rs25 billion from 2008-2018 through fake companies.

“The allegations are general in nature. The FIR also mentions that the Sharif Group’s companies were used for money laundering. However, in those 10 years, Shehbaz was neither the director nor a shareholder of those companies.”

The chief justice about the previous government remarked that NAB was used as a tool for ‘political engineering.’

The FIR, Pervaiz said, was lodged after investigation and the initial paragraphs of the report do not mention Shehbaz.

The lawyer told the court that it is up to an individual whether they decide to keep movable or immovable property with them. At this, judge Aijaz Awan noted that they should declare it otherwise it becomes black money.

Interrupting his lawyer, PM Shehbaz Sharif said he wanted to speak. The court allowed it.

The prime minister told the court that he, in his capacity as the chief minister of Punjab for 20 years, made decisions that “hurt” his family’s sugar business.

“I was requested to provide subsidy to sugar mills, but I refused. I refused as the amount (that would be used for subsidy) was of the poor people in Punjab,” PM Shehbaz Sharif said.

The PM termed the money laundering case against him as “fake” and said that he never provided a subsidy to sugar mills.

Later, the court allowed PM Shehbaz Sharif to leave as he apprised the judge that he has some important business in Islamabad to look after.

The hearing has been adjourned until October 8.