Spanish publication did not call Nawaz Sharif a thief in recent article

Old news clipping from Spanish newspaper resurfaces on social media


Claim: A Spanish newspaper recently published pictures of “thieves from around the world”, including former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif.

Fact: Nawaz Sharif’s picture appeared in a 2016 article by Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia about the Panama Papers. Sharif’s name and photo did not feature in a recent article by the publication about international thieves.

On 22 June 2022, Twitter user @tayyabsecret tweeted a visual featuring former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif alongside a snippet of a newspaper article.

The visual appears to have been created by Facebook page ‘PNP News’ and includes the text, “فرانس کے ایک اخبار میں عالمی چوروں کی تصویریں، مبارک ہو نواز شریف نے پاکستان کا نام روشن کر دیا، ترقی کا ایک اور مر حلہ پورا ہوا، نواز شریف شکریہ [Pictures of thieves from around the world in a French newspaper, congratulations to Nawaz Sharif for bringing recognition to Pakistan, another stage of development completed, thank you Nawaz Sharif].”

@tayyabsecret’s tweet — which was posted in response to a tweet by PML-N Vice President and Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz — was accompanied by the caption, “مبارک ہو میڈم اب ہم انٹرنیشنل چور بن گۓ ہیں [Congratulations madam, now we have become international thieves].”

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check used Google Lens, Google Reverse Image Search, and TinEye Reverse Image Search to ascertain the source of the visual in question.

Google Lens identified the text, “un escandol global,” which led us to this link to digital newspaper website PressReader containing an excerpt from Spanish daily newspaper La Vanguardia’s 2016 article titled, “Un escándalo global (La Filtración Sobre Paraísos Fiscales),” or “A Global Scandal (The Tax Haven Leak).”

The report — a print copy of which was photographed and included in the viral visual — was about the Panama Papers that implicated “128 world leaders and politicians, including five active heads of state”.

The same image of French politician Marine Le Pen can be seen in both the photo of the print copy and the archived online version of the article, confirming that the two are indeed the same. The report contained pictures of 10 politicians, including Sharif, who were named or whose associates were named in the Panama Papers.

The image of Sharif used in the news visual in question is from when the former prime minister attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2016. It was taken by photographer Jolanda Flubacher and is available here on Flickr.

The article is from 2016 and not recent. Therefore, the claim that Sharif was recently named an international thief by a Spanish publication is misleading.


Soch Fact Check found that a few days after the tweet by @tayyabsecret, which received close to 100 likes and was retweeted almost 50 times, @stickwithchick — an account with the display name ‘Nosheen Saeed’, a former lawmaker associated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) — posted the same image.

Soch Fact Check cannot confirm the authenticity of the account. In addition, there is limited public information available on Nosheen Saeed.

The image — or versions of it — has surfaced multiple times over the years since 2016; it appeared on Twitter on 3 March 2017, 1 October 2020, 9 April 2021, 20 November 2021, 19 September 2021, 9 April 2022, 25 April 2022, and 15 June 2022.

Conclusion: A picture of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not published by Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in a recent article about international thieves. Sharif’s name and picture appeared in a 2016 article by the outlet about the Panama Papers.

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