Money laundering case: Court extends pre-arrest bail of Zardari, Faryal till Jan 7

Money laundering case: Court extends pre-arrest bail of Zardari, Faryal till Jan 7

Karachi (Staff Report): A banking court on Friday extended the interim pre-arrest bail of former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till January 7 in money laundering case.

The PPP leader and his sister appeared before the banking court after their interim bail ended today.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior party leaders, including Khursheed Shah and Rehman Malik were also present on this occasion while a large number of party workers had gathered outside the court premises.

The JIT that has been investigating the fake accounts recommended a legal course against some 415 key individuals and around 172 entities allegedly involved in transactions of approximately Rs220 billion through 104 fake accounts.

The JIT observed that either the investigation would be further referred to banking courts, NAB, FIA or it was up to the apex court to decide based on the JIT findings. In a series of events in the fake accounts investigation, the JIT report also revealed a domestic worker of Zardari, with an estimated fortune of around Rs8.1 billion stashed into one of his fake accounts. Mushtaq Ahmed, 37, who once served as one of personal staff members of Zardari accumulated the wealth with Zain Malik through a joint fake account maintained in a private bank in Karachi during 2014-15, the report stated.

This is pertinent to mention that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating 32 people, including Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in connection with money laundering from fake accounts.

Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July in connection with the probe.

Former president's other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani, were also arrested by FIA earlier this month whereas Majeed’s three other sons were granted interim bail.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in some banks from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.

According to FIA sources, the amount is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday submitted a petition to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Sindh seeking disqualification of former president and co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari for concealing his property in the United States.

PTI’s member of Sindh Assembly Khurram Sherzaman filed a petition with ECP’s provincial office.

Citing Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution, the reference underscores that in his nomination form for the 2018 general elections, Asif Ali Zardari had failed to declare an apartment he allegedly owns in New York, United States.

On Wednesday, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhary had made an announcement a day earlier regarding filing a disqualification reference against Zardari.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday, the minister said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has directed its Sindh lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman to file a reference against the former president for not mentioning his foreign assets in the nomination papers submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The information minister claimed that Asif Ali Zardai owns an apartment in the United States.

“The PPP leader was required to declare that property under Articles 62 and 63, which he didn’t. He is therefore not eligible to be a lawmaker,” Fawad said.