Fake accounts case: Govt issues list of 172 suspects placed on ECL

Fake accounts case: Govt issues list of 172 suspects placed on ECL

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The federal government on Friday issued a list of 172 suspects whose names have been put on the Exit Control List (ECL) following the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report on money laundering through fake bank accounts.

The top leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) including party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah, former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, provincial ministers Mukesh Chawla, Imtiaz Shaikh and former home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal are among those barred from flying abroad.

The names of various provincial government officials, bank officials and property tycoons have also been placed on ECL.

Here is the complete list of suspects placed on ECL.

 On Thursday, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry had announced that the government has decided to place as many as 172 people, including Asif Ali Zardari on ECL in the light of the ongoing money laundering probe.

He said that the federal cabinet has taken the important decision after taking in view the report of the JIT submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

On December 24, ordered PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Bahria Town and Omni groups to submit their reply till December 28 after the JIT hold them responsible in the mega money laundering and fake accounts case.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the suo motu case at the SC's Lahore registry and banned the trading and transfers of the properties of the Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group which are mentioned in a report submitted by the JIT, probing the fake bank accounts case.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), whose JIT had compiled the report, asked the court to put the names of all the accused on the Control ECL.

On December 21, a banking court in Karachi extended the interim pre-arrest bail of Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till January 7 in the ongoing money laundering case.

A JIT 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.

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 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.