Umar Farooq Zahoor acquitted in two money laundering cases.

DUBAI -- A Lahore judicial magistrate has cleared businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor in two cases of money laundering and fraud - registered against him by his former wife Sophia Mirza with help from ex-accountability minister Shahzad Akbar who had managed to get the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government's cabinet approval for these cases.

Judge Ghulam Murtaza Virk of Judicial Magistrate Courts has acquitted Zahoor and cancelled two First Information Reports (FIRs) after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed the court that its probs had established that the accused was not involved in fraud, money laundering, and corruption.

Both cases were started in early June 2020 after Mirza approached the FIA Lahore's Corporate Circle with Akbar's help, who got the cabinet to approve the investigations, over allegations of fraud and money laundering of around Rs16 billion by Zahoor and his brother-in-law Saleem Ahmad.

Mirza had alleged that Zahoor had allegedly committed bank fraud of $89.2m in Norway in 2010 and another alleged case in Bern, Switzerland, in 2004.

The former special assistant to prime minister Akbar took Mirza's complaints to the cabinet and told the cabinet that Zahoor should be investigated.

Immediately after the federal cabinet approved the summary, FIA Lahore Chief Dr Rizwan (late) started action against Zahoor: his name was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), non-bailable warrants in one of the FIRs were obtained from the court without fulfilling legal requirements, and on the basis of said non-bailable warrants, his passport and CNIC were blacklisted and red notices were issued through the Interpol by National Crime Bureau (NCB) Pakistan for arresting Zahoor.

When registering the cases, Mirza used her name as a complainant Khushbakht Mirza to conceal her identity and the fact that Zahoor was her former husband and both were involved in a court dispute over the custody of their two teen daughters.

Zahoor has publicly alleged that Mirza and her accomplices tried to extort money from him and when he refused they started cases against him using their govt connections in the PTI government.

The FIA told the court that it issued notices and letters to the Norwegian Police Liaison Officer at Islamabad for collection of relevant evidence but no positive response has been shown by them.

The judge noted that the alleged offence was committed in the year 2010 and that case has already been closed but still, FIA had registered...

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