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Sharif's daughter owned London flats for 6 months: Pakistan SC

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam owned four flats in the upscale Mayfair locality in London for six months in 2006, a media report quoted the counsel for the Sharif family as telling the Supreme Court today as it heard the high-profile Panamagate case.

Sharifs' counsel Salman Akram Raja told the five-judge bench, which is hearing a slew of petitions filed against the Prime Minister's family over alleged corruption, that Maryam had been a legal beneficiary of the London flats in the Park Lane neighbourhood from February to July 2006 as she possessed bearer shares regarding ownership being a trustee.

He claimed, however, that in July, the shares were registered in the name of Minerva Services Limited, a company which the premier's family previously identified as a "service provider" to Nielsen and Nescoll - offshore companies owned by Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz.

Following this, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh called for documentary evidence which could show the authorised representatives of Minerva Services, The Express Tribune reported.

In his response, the Sharifs' counsel said Minerva was authorised by a trustee service company which is now owned by the Prime Minister's son.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan expressed his surprise that the Sharif family seem to have acquired expensive apartments in London without any documentary evidence to establish ownership or a money trail for the purchases, the report said.

Meanwhile, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is heading the bench, observed that the court was still conducting proceedings of an adversarial nature, but after completion of arguments by counsels of both parties, it will see whether inquisitorial proceedings should be initiated.

Justice Khosa asked Raja if he was telling the court that the Sharif family did not possess any relevant documents and insisted that the Qatari prince should be asked to explain how the Sharifs acquired the London properties.

The judge went on to add that the Sharif family was making a gamble which could go either way. Justice Khosa also wondered what would be the spirit of accountability if the Sharifs failed to produce the necessary documents in court.

The apex court after a hiatus of two weeks resumed hearing of the Panamagate case involving Prime Minister Sharif and his children.
Prime Minister Sharif has denied any wrongdoing.

The case is about alleged illegal money laundering by Sharif in 1990s when he twice served as Prime Minister to purchase assets in London.

The assets surfaced when Panama papers showed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif's children. Yadav and the younger brother of Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav.

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