Money laundering case: Zardari, Talpur’s interim bail extended

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KARACHI : A banking court on Wednesday extended the interim pre-arrest bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and nine other suspects till February 14 in an ongoing money laundering case.

The banking court will hear the bail plea of Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, on February 6.

The former president and his sister along with other suspects appeared before the court as the interim bail granted to them ended today. The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) investigation officer did not appear before the court as he is currently in Islamabad.

As the hearing went under way, the bench questioned, “How should we take the case forward when neither the investigation officer nor FIA record are present. First, let the Supreme Court decision,  investigation officer and record come.”

The banking court judge remarked, “The court is ready to hear the case but the file is not here. We have the interim chalan and can hear the bail case on the basis of that.”

Turning to FIA’s counsel, the bench said, “If you have the file, present arguments on the bail plea.”

At this, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed’s counsel requested that the FIA present a final chalan so the court can hear the case. However, FIA prosecutor Mumtaz-ul-Hasan said, “The Supreme Court order only states that the matter should be forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).”

The court then extended the interim bail of Zardari, Talpur, Anwar Majeed and nine other suspects till February 14 and adjourned the hearing of the money-laundering case till that date. However, the court will hear the bail plea of Majeed and his son on February 6.

The case

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July in connection with the probe.

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.

The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

2019-01-23

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