–Faryal Talpur’s lawyer tells FIA his client wants to ‘fully cooperate’ in Rs35bn money laundering probe but has reservations over JIT head
KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur on Saturday once again failed to appear before a joint investigation team of the FIA probing a Rs 35 billion money laundering case against them, and demanded the top agency to form a fresh JIT due to their reservations against the team’s current head.
The siblings, who face allegations that they had illegally channelled funds through benami (fake) accounts in connivance with the heads of major banks, had failed to appear before the JIT on multiple occasions. They again skipped the hearing on Saturday, with Talpur’s counsel Farooq Naik raising objections against the JIT head and requesting the FIA to commission a new investigative team.
Naik said that his client wants to “fully cooperate with the FIA”. “However, she will not appear before the JIT as she is currently in Larkana to submit the details of her assets.”
“[We have] also petitioned the FIA to form a new JIT,” he added.
Last month, upon being declared an absconder, Zardari had accused FIA DG Bashir Memon of holding a grudge against the PPP.
He had termed the probe against him as “political victimisation” and claimed that the FIA DG was working on an anti-PPP agenda.
The corruption case, in which Talpur is named, was initially registered against former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be close to former president Asif Ali Zardari, and other bankers in connection with an ongoing probe into a massive money laundering scam.
Lawai and other bankers were accused of facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, where ‘beneficiaries of the Sindh government’ had deposited Rs35 billion that was subsequently transferred to different accounts. Lawai, along with three other bankers, was arrested by the FIA earlier this month.
In the case’s interim charge sheet dated July 21, 2018, Zardari and Talpur’s names appeared in the list of absconding accused persons along with their addresses.
Additionally, Zardari’s close aide Anwar Majeed and his son were also named in the list of absconders which contains the names of 20 individuals.