ISLAMABAD, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- An anti-graft court in Pakistan on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison on corruption charges related to owning a steel mills abroad, lawyers said.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court in the capital Islamabad announced the verdict.
Sharif, the three-time prime minister, was inside the accountability court when Judge Arshad Malik delivered the verdict.
The police took him into custody after the judge announced the decision, defense lawyers in the court said.
Sharif requested the judge to keep him imprisoned in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province, instead of the city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad.
Legal experts say Sharif has the right to challenge the conviction in the high court.
The case, known as the Al-Azizia Steel Mills references, relates to building a steel mills in Saudi Arabia, and the court ruled that Sharif had failed to provide money trail of the investment.
The mills had been established by Sharif's father Mian Muhammad Sharif in Saudi Arabia in 2001 and Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz was running the mills. Sharif family insisted that they had received investment from the Saudi government.
The anti-graft body, however, claimed that Sharif family had illegally transferred the money to Saudi Arabia and that Nawaz Sharif was the real owner as he had received huge money from his sons.
Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz had stated that he had got five million U.S. dollars from his grandfather for the mills.
The court acquitted Sharif in another corruption case that related to the ownership of a number of companies established in Britain and the United Arab Emirates when he held public office.
Sharif and his two sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz were also accused of using 16 offshore companies to manage and acquire expensive properties. Sharif had denied all charges during his appearance in the court and insisted that he had not owned any offshore company and that his sons owned the companies.
Sharif was earlier given a 10-year jail term in July this year in a corruption case related to luxury flats in London. The Islamabad High Court later granted bail to Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar.