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Zardari’s woes: Case transferred to Pindi, bail cancelled


News Desk |

A banking court in Karachi on Friday, 15th March, transferred the money laundering/fake accounts case against former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and other accomplices to Rawalpindi NAB, granting an earlier request by the Accountability watchdog.

Following the verdict, the court also dismissed the interim pre-arrest bail granted to the former president, his sister and other suspects in the case. The banking court had reserved its decision earlier this month after NAB had pleaded to the court to transfer the case to an accountability court.

The former President and his sister did not present themselves before the court at the hearing of the case on Friday 15th March, however, Hussain Lawai, who was arrested last year, Abdul Ghani Majeed and others nominated in the case were present.

The accounts were operated by fake companies. Further probe revealed that the money was transferred to companies own by Omni Group. The chairperson of the company Anwar Majeed is a close aide of Zardari.

In December 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency had begun a discreet investigation into certain bank accounts through which multi-billion rupee transactions had been made. According to FIA sources, information regarding the fake accounts came to the fore when an intelligence agency picked up a prominent money changer in an unrelated case, GVS earlier reported.

In November 2018, the government of Pakistan’s accountability front had identified more than 5,000 fake accounts, which were allegedly used for money laundering, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shahzad Akbar briefed a press conference.

The Special Assistant had held the press conference to brief the media on the progress made by the assets recovering unit, a joint platform of officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue and other investigation agencies to bring back illegal money stashed overseas.

Read more: End of Zardari’s era: What is the way forward?

Barrister Shahzad Akbar told the media that assets worth $5.3 billion were made in Dubai alone through alleged money laundering. “The amount translates into Rs 700 billion,” he said, adding that further details of all Iqama holders were being collected with the help of Dubai authorities as well as the local mechanism. He said that there are two types of iqamas (work permits) obtained by the people of Pakistan.

As the monitoring and investigation of these suspicious accounts continued, it surfaced that five of these accounts in two banks,  the Sindh Bank and Summit Bank, had been used for transactions worth around Rs15 billion. The accounts were operated by fake companies. Further probe revealed that the money was transferred to companies own by Omni Group. The chairperson of the company Anwar Majeed is a close aide of Zardari.

Read more: Fake accounts case transferred to Rawalpindi NAB

Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed were arrested in August last year and are currently on judicial remand. As per media reports, Nimr Majeed, son of Anwar escaped from banking court today as soon as a decision to transfer case to Rawalpindi was announced. FIA team has been sent after absconder.

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