Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been found guilty of fresh corruption charges and sentenced to seven years in prison, a court ruled in Islamabad on Monday. An accountability court sentenced Sharif to seven years in detention and fined him $25 million.
Sharif was found guilty of corruption charges relating to the purchase of Al-Azizia Steel Mills where prosecutors alleged that the Sharif family misappropriated government funds to buy the mills. The company was used by the Sharif’s family to launder money, evade tax and hide offshore assets.
Sharif was immediately arrested and taken into custody by courtroom officials.
Meanwhile, supporters of the former prime minister held small protests outside the courtroom in Islamabad — which tear gas was used to disperse them.
More corruption charges
It is the second time the former prime minister has been sent to prison this year: Sharif and his daughter, Maryam were jailed for a different corruption case in July. The Islamabad High Court suspended their sentences in September and they were ordered to pay bail of $5,000 each.
In 2017 Sharif was ordered to step down as prime minister by the country’s Supreme Court, after revelations about his family’s finances emerged in the Panama Papers.
The former leader was not named in the documents, but he was linked to offshore accounts and overseas properties owned by three of his adult children that were not declared on the family’s wealth statement.
In July Sharif had returned to Pakistan — leaving his wife’s sickbed — to support the ultimately unsuccessful election campaign of his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who took over the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) that Nawaz once led.
However on his return, Sharif was arrested over corruption charges related to his family’s purchase of overseas properties. Sharif was also handed a $10.5 million fine.
Maryam, who had been widely seen as her father’s heir apparent, was also found guilty, as was her husband, Muhammad Safdar.
All three were barred from engaging in politics for 10 years and four properties in London were ordered to be confiscated by the Pakistani state, according to the July verdict.