PM’s younger son grilled by JIT for seven hours

ISLAMABAD: Appea­ring before the joint investigation team (JIT) for the first time, the prime minister’s younger son, Hassan Nawaz, brought with him three volumes of documents to support his family’s claims in the Panama Papers investigation on Friday.

Mr Nawaz arrived at the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA) at around 9:50am, but unlike his elder brother did not stop to speak to journalists. He simply waved to his supporters and entered the JIT secretariat housed in the FJA for a seven-hour-long session with the six-member team headed by Wajid Zia, the additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency.

Since May 28, the PM’s elder son, Hussain Nawaz, has appea­red thrice before the JIT and attended lengthy sessions. He is expected to attend another session with the JIT on Saturday (today).

Sources privy to the investigation said Friday’s session had focused on details of the businesses and transaction details of the funds Mr Nawaz had used to establish companies in the United Kingdom.

According to sources, the JIT questioned Mr Nawaz with regard to an interview telecast on the BBC in which he had claimed that he was a student in London in 1999 with no income of his own. He was asked how he managed to start his own business in London on April 12, 2001 after setting up a company named Flagship Investments Limited.

The sources said the questions Mr Nawaz was asked centred around his ownership of companies and how he managed to accumulate massive capital holdings in a short span of time.

The investigators had noted that the premier’s son had admitted to having no income in 1999, but a financial report dated April 2001 showed Mr Nawaz to have 70,5071 pounds sterling to his credit. The investigation team also asked how he managed to establish 10 companies before 2005, even prior to the sale of the Jeddah factory.

The investigators are said to have referred to a report prepared by former minister Reh­man Malik and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s ‘confessional statement’ regarding alleged money laundering by the Sharif family with particular reference to his business and the Mayfair properties owned by his elder brother.

The sources said that Mr Nawaz rejected the allegations of financial impropriety, saying that had this been the case, Mr Malik — who was interior minister under the Pakistan Peoples Party government — would have taken action against their family.

He took the stance that his father had been in exile when he established the companies and managed to run his business after procuring a loan. Mr Nawaz claimed that he established the businesses in a lawful manner and presented documents in three volumes in support of his claim.

After the session, journalists gathered in front of the FJA expected Mr Nawaz to make a statement, but he simply waved at them and left.