Nawaz Sharif, a former Pakistani prime minister, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in a corruption case linked to the purchase of luxury London flats.
The decision by a Pakistani anti-corruption court is a major blow to his party ahead of a general election in July.
The guilty verdict in absentia against the 68-year-old threatens to end the career of one Pakistan’s most high-profile politicians over the last four decades, a political survivor who served as prime minister on three occasions.
His daughter, Maryam, widely seen as his chosen political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Maryam’s husband Muhammad Safdar Awan was sentenced to one year in prison, prosecution lawyer Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said.
Both Sharif and his daughter were in London on Friday with Sharif’s wife, Kulsoom, who is being treated there for cancer and is in a coma after suffering a heart attack last month.
The court case centred on upscale London flats that the Sharifs say they bought through legitimate means, mostly in the mid-1990s.
But the National Accountability Bureau has alleged the family has been unable to explain how it paid for them.
The family have denied wrongdoing and are expected to appeal.
Sharif has previously described the court proceedings against him as politically motivated and a judicial witchhunt.
Sharif was ousted from power by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and barred from politics for being “dishonest” by failing to report a monthly income of 10,000 Emirati dirham (£2,000) from a company owned by his son. He denies drawing the monthly salary.
But he has kept control of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party that he founded.
The military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for almost half of its history, denies involvement in civilian politics.
But the military ended Sharif‘s second stint in power in 1999 in a bloodless coup.