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Rs35b money laundering: FIA declares Zardari, Faryal absconders

Rs35b money laundering: FIA declares Zardari, Faryal absconders

KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency on Saturday declared former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur absconders in relation to the money laundering case.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice into the FIA’s probe of a Rs35 billion money-laundering scam – during the hearing of which even reports emerged of the two Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders being put on the Exit Control List.

The duo was declared absconders in the case which also nominates others including Zardari’s close aide and ex-chairman of Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai.

The FIA also declared 20 people including Anwar Majeed and his son absconder in the money laundering case. Earlier, the PPP co-chairman denied involvement in the scam.

Speaking during an interview earlier this month, he said that he will face the bogus cases like he did in the past, adding that he was sent a notice of Rs150 million rather than the propagated Rs35 billion.

He also said that it was the time for election, not for accountability, and that his party would not boycott the forthcoming polls. He added that accountability should take place either before or after election season. “We won’t give anyone opportunity by boycotting the election,” he added.

Rejecting the allegations against him, the PPP leader said he has faced cases before and will do so again.

The FIA inquiry started when the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a ‘suspicious transaction report’ in January this year regarding ten bank accounts.

Sources maintain that over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at a private bank were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made.

The amount according to FIA sources is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes. But despite these huge transactions, the bank authorities never reported them to the authorities concerned including the FIA.