Rs35Bn Money Laundering Probe Yields 400 Beneficiaries From Fake Accounts Transactions

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AUG 28, 2018: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) report on money laundering probe submitted to Supreme Court of Pakistan today lists over 400 individuals including politicians and bureaucrats having benefited from the the scam including former President and PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his siter Faryal Talpur.

According to local media outlet Geo, the agency has suggested the top court form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the multi-billion rupees scandal.

The probe has already led to the arrest of Hussain Lawai, the chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange. Lawai has denied any wrongdoings and remains under remand and investigation. Executives from local lenders Sindh Bank Ltd., Summit Bank Ltd. and United Bank Ltd. were also summoned to appear before the top court earlier to testify over alleged fake account transactions, according to the statement.

On Monday, Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur appeared before FIA and recorded their statements in the money laundering case.

Both the former president and his sister were questioned for more than 30 minutes.

The FIA is investigating money laundering case concerning Rs.35 billion having been sent abroad through fake bank accounts. According to unconfirmed reports, the amount could well exceed Rs160 billion.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at at least three private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made. The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

The FIA is probing 32 people in relation to the money laundering from these fake accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.

Some former ministers from Sindh were among the people included in the list as well as bureaucrats.

The FIA plans to extend the scope of probe to 400 people who have benefited from the scam.

The FIA has also arrested close aide to Asif Zardari, Anwar Majeed of Omni Group and it has also carried out raids on the sugar mills owned by Mr. Majeed. Records of the mills have been seized by the FIA.

The hearing of the fake accounts case was postponed till September 5 by the Supreme Court (SC). A suo motu was taken by the apex court and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating the matter.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal and Justice Ijazul Ahsan also hinted at holding daily hearings of the case after September 5 as the FIA, in its reply to the SC, proposed a seven-member JIT to probe the case.

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