World Bank quashes reports of money laundering by Nawaz Sharif

  • The Washington-based multilateral agency says its two-year-old report do not accuse ex-PM of $4.9 billion money laundering
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – After the anti-graft watchdog taking notice of media reports announced to investigate alleged money laundering of $4.9 billion by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the World Bank refused the claims as false.

In a statement issued by the Washington-based multilateral agency hours after the Nation Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) announcement, it rejected that its Remittances and Migration Report of 2016 levelled $4.9 billion money laundering accusation against the former premier.

“In the past day, there have been media reports citing the World Bank’s Remittances and Migration Report of 2016. These media reports were incorrect,” read the press release.

NAB launches inquiry into allegations against Nawaz Sharif, others of laundering $4.9b to India

“The World Bank’s Remittances and Migration Report is an effort by the World Bank to estimate migration and remittances numbers across the world. The report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals,” it added.

Launching investigations without verification and an instant denial by the World Bank served a major blow on the NAB, which has usually been accused by Nawaz Sharif of witch-hunting.

The former prime minister was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a Panamgate case for concealing assets. He is facing corruption trial in the accountability court since his ouster.

The orders of inquiry into money laundering allegations against the high profile person would create problems for the country internationally as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has already decided to put Pakistan on a list of the countries that financially support terrorism, with effect from June.

The WB in the press release also referred to a statement by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) which rejected estimates of US$4.9 billion remittances from Pakistan to India on September 21, 2016. The central bank refuting the $4.9 billion remittances number provided an explanation of the methodology used in the World Bank report and the official remittances numbers.

On Tuesday, the chairman of National Accountability Bureau, Justice (r) Javaid Iqbal ordered to verify the allegations against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and others for money laundering.

In a press release, the anti-corruption watchdog took notice of the media reports regarding alleged transfer of $4.9 billion to India by the ex-PM and others outside the country.

The Bureau also quoted the World Bank’s Migration and Remittance Book 2016, saying it corroborates the allegations of money laundering.