Ex-Pakistan PM in court for corruption charges

Ousted Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif has appeared in court charged with corruption after the Panama Papers leak.

The papers, leaked from a law firm in Panama in 2016, indicated Mr Sharif’s sons failed to declare several offshore companies, some of which helped them to buy properties in London’s Mayfair.

Mr Sharif denies charges of corruption stemming from documents.

He arrived at court flanked by security, along with his daughter and son-in-law, who also face charges of corruption.

An investigation accused Mr Sharif of concealing assets and hiding his family’s wealth by overemphasising his father’s.

Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives at court
Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrives at court

:: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif forced out of office over corruption scandal

His daughter was said to be the main beneficiary, but attempted to prove her innocence last year.

However, documents she produced, allegedly written and signed in 2006, used the font Calibri, not commercially available until 2007.

In court on Friday, Mr Sharif’s lawyers asked that the three cases he faces be merged into one. A judge set the next trial date for Tuesday, when the defence pleas will be announced.

According to The Guardian, lawyers called the charges “not only groundless, baseless and unfounded but also frivolous”.

He was disqualified from holding public office by the country’s supreme court in July 2017 after a judge ruled he had been dishonest in not disclosing employment of a Dubai-based company in his nomination papers.

Opposition leader and former cricket star Imran Khan spearheaded the campaign against Sharif
Opposition leader and former cricket star Imran Khan spearheaded the campaign against Mr Sharif

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Mr Sharif’s wife is in London undergoing medical treatment. She won an election in his seat after he was forced out.

The Panama Papers investigation was carried out by multiple news organisations after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) shared files from the database of law firm Mossack Fonseca.

It exposed offshore accounts held by wealthy names, with some, but not all, suspected to have been used for illegal purposes. Among the names were members of the Spanish royal family, and Mark Thatcher, the son of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The case against Sharif was filed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and two other political leaders, who claimed he made mis-statements in his speech in the national assembly and in his address to the nation last year.

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