Pakistan Elections Agency finds Imran Khan’s party received illegal funds

The decision could lead to a ban on Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which has been prominent in the anti-corruption campaign.

Khan, who analysts say had fallen out with military authorities over the appointment of a spy chief in the run-up to his ouster earlier this year, was not immediately available for comment. A PTI spokesman denied any wrongdoing.

The commission’s decision is a major setback for the former cricket star who has been campaigning against the new government.

The case, brought in 2014 by Akbar S. Khan, a founding member of PTI, accused the party of receiving illicit funds from abroad.

“The Commission is satisfied that the respondent party has received donations and donations from prohibited sources,” said the ruling, seen by Reuters.

The commission said the party had also hidden 13 accounts, adding that the announcement made to the commission on party finances by Khan as its chairperson from 2008 to 2013 “turned out to be grossly inaccurate”.

She said PTI had received money from various people and companies abroad, including businessman Arif Naqvi, owner of a stock group in Dubai, who is among several people accused by US prosecutors of being part of an international scheme to defraud investors, including the Bill and Melinda Foundation. Gates.

Naqvi denied the charges against him.

The commission said the party was a “willing recipient of illicit funds” of $2.1 million from Naqvi’s Woton Cricket Limited, which is registered in the Cayman Islands.

It also identified several other foreign accounts in the United States, Britain, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Switzerland and other countries that conducted transactions for Khan’s party accounts.

The election commission’s ruling has been referred to the Pakistani government, which may seek a Supreme Court ban on Khan and his party in politics, according to legal experts. The court in 2017 ordered the committee to examine the party’s accounts.

“We will appeal this ruling,” Khan’s party spokesman Fouad Chaudhry told reporters. He said the money was received from Pakistani nationals living abroad, which is illegal.

Khan was prime minister from 2018 until April of this year when he was forced to step down after losing a vote of confidence allegedly the result of a US conspiracy. The United States denied this.

Since then, he has been mobilizing his supporters to press his demand for new elections. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif refused this request.

“It is a clear case of fraud,” said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, leader of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League.

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