FIA summons Zardari, Faryal on Monday in mega scam probe

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–PPP senior leaders have been told to appear at Islamabad HQs after they refused to appear before JIT investigating Rs41.4bn money laundering scam

–Court extends physical remand of ex-president’s close aide Anwar Majeed

 

KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the Rs41.4 billion money laundering probe on Monday.

The FIA issued a statement on Saturday, saying that Zardari and his sister had to present themselves at the agency’s headquarters in Islamabad.

This is the fourth time that the agency has summoned the PPP co-chairman and his sister to appear before a joint investigation team (JIT). Despite earlier summons, the accused, Zardari and Talpur, failed to appear before FIA’s JIT probing the money laundering scam.

On August 17, a banking court had issued non-bailable warrants of arrest for Zardari and 15 others in the Rs 41.4 billion money laundering case. However, on the very next day, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had approved the former president’s petition for protective bail.

Also, warrants were issued for suspects absconding in the case, including Namar Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Naseer Abdullah Hussain, Adnan Javed, Mohammad Umair, Iqbal, Azam Wazir Khan, Zain Malik, and Mustafa Zulqarnain.

While hearing the money laundering case, the court had directed authorities to present Zardari and other suspects before it by September 4. However, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar had issued a statement in which he quoted Zardari’s counsel Farooq Naek as saying that no warrants against the former president have been issued.

PHYSICAL REMAND OF ZARDARI’S AIDE EXTENDED:

Meanwhile, a local court in Karachi has extended the physical remand of Omni Group Chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, who were arrested in connection to the same money laundering case.

The FIA on Saturday presented AG Majeed before additional district and sessions judge, south. Majeed’s counsel informed the court that AG Majeed is interrogated throughout the night and not even allowed to sleep. “A medical examination should be conducted for my client as he faces the risk of brain hemorrhage,” the counsel said.

Majeed’s counsel further requested the court to send Anwar on a judicial remand instead of a physical one as he is hospitalised.

However, the FIA prosecutor argued that further questioning is required and thus, the physical remands should be extended. Accepting FIA’s request, the court extended the physical remand of both till August 27.

The court also ordered that a medical examination be conducted of Abdul Ghani and the report be submitted.

Anwar, a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, and his son were arrested on August 15 in connection to a case pertaining to money laundering through fake bank accounts.

Earlier, the FIA had also requested the banking court for a 14-day remand of former president Asif Zardari’s close aide Anwar Majeed and his son. The accused’s counsel, Farooq H Naek, had opposed the appeal.

Speaking to the media, an FIA representative said the remand was to further probe and obtain documents from the accused in the money laundering case.

The banking court hearing the case had approved an extension in Talpur’s interim bail until the next hearing on September 4.

Interim bails for some others, including Shehzad Jatoi and Sher Muhammad Mugheri, were also extended until the same date.

On August 20, the banking court had rejected bail pleas of former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza in the case.

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

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

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