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Money-laundering: FIA summons Zardari, Faryal Talpur

Money-laundering: FIA summons Zardari, Faryal Talpur

KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday summoned former president Asif Ali Zardari and sister Faryal Talpur in a money-laundering case.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders have been issued a notice to appear before the agency on July 11 to record their statement in a case pertaining to suspicious transactions of Rs35 billion carried out through fictitious bank accounts.

Sources in the FIA said that the PPP co-chairperson and Talpur were placed on the no-fly list.

The sources added that a recently-introduced feature – the Provincial National Identification List – enables the FIA to bar any person from flying abroad for a period of 30 days.

The decision to restrict the movement of the former president has been taken in relation to a money laundering scam which is being probed by the FIA and being heard at the apex court.

On Friday, the FIA had detained Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza, accusing them of facilitating the opening of 29 fake accounts in different banks.

Meanwhile, the team headed by Additional DG FIA Dr Najaf Mirza will comprise of seven-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the matter. Seven members of the JIT are, Punjab FIA Director Dr Usman Anwar, Sindh FIA Director Muneer Ahmed Sheikh, Additional Director Banking Circle Karachi Faizullah Korejo, Sindh FIA Deputy Director Ali Mardan Khoso and two deputy directors of FIA Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Ahmed and Khalid Anis.

The FIA initiated the inquiry when in January the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a suspicious transaction report regarding ten bank accounts. From 2013 to 2015, over 20 ‘benami’ accounts were opened at private banks through which transactions worth billions were made.

According to FIA, the money was gathered through illicit means. And despite transactions worth millions and billions, the banks never reported the matter to the concerned authorities.

While the apex court has summoned seven holders of fake bank account and 13 beneficiaries on July 12, the Supreme Court also ordered to place the names of heads of three private banks involved in the scandal on the ECL.