Court reserves verdict on Ayyan’s money laundering case till Friday

RAWALPINDI: Model Ayyan Ali arrives for the hearing of money laundering case in Custom Court. INP PHOTO


A special customs court in Rawalpindi on Wednesday reserved its verdict on model Ayyan Ali’s acquittal plea in the money laundering case, almost six months after her initial arrest from the airport with an undeclared half-a-million dollars in cash.

Ayyan Ali was arrested from Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport on 14 May with USD 500,000 in cash, and was accused of attempting to illegally take this amount outside the country.

After being held in jail for a brief period and then later released on bail, the special customs, taxation and anti-smuggling court is yet to formally indict Ayyan despite her 27 court appearances and almost six months after her initial arrest from the airport.

Ayyan appeared before the court of Rana Aftab Ahmed Khan again on Wednesday with her counsel Sardar Latif Khosa, who maintains that her client is innocent.

The defence lawyer argued that no proof of currency smuggling has been found during interrogation and that Ayyan, while carrying the currency, had yet not obtained the boarding pass and was going to leave after handing over the money to her brother.

The prosecution strongly opposed the acquittal plea and claimed Ayyan was arrested under Section 7 of the Customs Act from the VIP lounge of the airport while she was going to Dubai.

The court was expected to decide the acquittal plea , but Judge Rana Aftab Ahmed reserved the ruling and set 6 November for the announcement of the verdict in the high-profile case being feverishly followed by the Pakistani media due to her celebrity status and alleged political connections.