Money laundering case: SC orders authorities to submit fake bank accounts record

Money laundering case: SC orders authorities to submit fake bank accounts record

Lahore (Staff Report): The Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday issued an interim order in the fake bank accounts case, directing the authorities to freeze all such accounts and present their record in the court.

The top court also banned the sale and purchase of all properties identified in the report of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the mega money laundering scam. The court further ordered the monitoring of all transactions made from the accounts.

The SC will hear the money laundering and fake bank accounts case on December 31.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will hear the case. Notices have been sent to the attorney general and all respondents in the case.

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.

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.