Zardari granted interim bail in money laundering case

F.P. Report

KARACHI: A banking court granted an interim bail to former president and Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari, in a money laundering case here on Friday.

Former president had obtained a protective bail from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the case on August 18. The high court had directed the former president to appear before the trial court by Sep 3.

Zardari, along with his lawyer Farooq H. Naek, appeared before the court today and obtained an interim bail with a surety of Rs2 million.

When asked by a reporter to comment on the “day by day worsening situation” for him, the PPP co-chairperson laughed off the question.

Last Friday A banking Court in Karachi had issued non-bailable warrants for former President Asif Ali Zardari in the money laundering case.

Anwar Majeed, a close aide of Zardari who arrested from Islamabad, was produced before the court, which granted him to fourteen days remand of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Faryal Talpur, sister of Zardari had obtained bail, so the court issued arrest warrants against Asif Ali Zardari and others absconders in the case.

Warrants were issued for suspects absconding in the case including Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Zardari, Namar Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Naseer Abdullah Hussain, Adnan Javed, Mohammad Umair, Iqbal, Azam Wazir Khan, Zain Malik, and Mustafa Zulqarnain.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and counsel of Zardari Farooq H. Naik dismissed the “reports” of arrest warrants. “A section of the electronic media is reporting that the Court has issued warrants of arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari”, Senator Farooq Naik counsel for former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said while contradicting the reports. He further said that the Court had not issued any such orders.

Meanwhile, a FIA official on the condition of anonymity told The Frontier Post that he has received non-bailable arrest warrants for the former President. The state-run Radio Pakistan also confirmed the issuance of arrest warrants. “The Banking court in Karachi has issued non-bailable arrest warrants of former President Asif AliZardari in money laundering case” the state-run radio reported.

The court, today while hearing a case, directed to present Asif Ali Zardari and others relating to money laundering case by 4th of the next month, it added.

The Federal Investigation Agency 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 with the probe.

The banking court hearing the case on Thursday 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.

A decision on the bail of Lawai and Taha Raza was adjourned until August 18.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) last month had declared former President Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, close aide Anwar Majeed and Zain Malik of the Bahria Town Karachi project along several others as absconding accused in Rs35billions money laundering case.

Earlier, Zardari and his sister had moved to Supreme Court from where they had got relief after the apex court ordered FIA to not arrest them till election over.

The court had also clarified that the apex court had not order to place names of Zarfari and Faryal in exit control list after which their names were removed of the list.

However, on Saturday FIA issued list of absconding accused including Zardari.

Earlier, the legal team of Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur – both the directors of Zardari Group, appeared before the Federal Investigation Team – appeared before FIA, promising that former President and leader of the women chapter will appear after general elections.

The legal team, in its written reply submitted in the FIA’s banking circle in Karachi had said that the PPP leaders were busy in election campaign till July 25, so they could not appear.

“It is not possible to submit bank statements and related records pertaining to 2014 immediately,” the reply said. Asif Zardari is the president of PPP and contesting the July 25 general election from NA-213 owing to which he is busy with election campaigns, it added.

A day earlier, a senior official of the Federal Investigation Agency told The Frontier Post that the agency issued summons to Co-Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari and women chapter head of the party, Faryal Talpur, in connection with case of laundering Rs35billion.

The summons were sent to Bilawal House and residence of Faryal Talpur in the adjacent area but no one received after which both summons were pasted at the walls of Bilawal House and Talpur’s residence in Clifton.

“It has come on record that cheque No.5384360, dated 20-05-2014, amounting to Rs15 million of A/c No.1-2-28-20620-714-139111 titled A-One international maintained at summit bank Kh-e-Tanzeem Branch Karachi is credited in account No 1-2-15-20620-714-103078 titled Zardari group (Pvt) Limited maintained at summit bank,” the summon reads, warning that if they failed to appear legal action will be initiated.

“Whereas you being the director of M/S Zardari Group (Pvt) Ltd. are acquainted with the facts of the said case, therefore, you are advised to appear before the undersigned to record your statement on 11-07-2018 at 10:00 hours along with your original CNIC and to justify the above mentioned transaction along with complete details,” reads the summons.

The FIR divulges that a transaction of Rs 15,000,000 to Zardari Group, owned by Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Fayral Taplur.

According to case Number 04/2018 registered under section 419/420/486/471/109 PPC r/w CA1947 r/w 3& 4 AML act 2010, it was established during the course of FIA enquiry started upon receipt of Suspicious Transaction Report regarding 29 accounts, that 01 of the total 29 accounts bearing No. 1-2-28-20620-714-139111 in the title of A-One International sole proprietorship firm purportedly in the name of Tariq was fraudulently opened by using his CNIC.

“This account was subsequently used to place illegitimate funds for purpose of money laundering,” reads the FIR.

According to FIA the purported account holder Tariq Sultan denied to have opened the said account. In view of denial of Tariq Sultan, handwriting/signatures opinion was obtained vide No. 370/TW/FIA/2015 dated 17.11.2015 which corroborated the version of purported account holder Tariq Sultan and the signatures on bank documents are established to be forged.

In view of the record in respect of above bank account in the name of A-One International (Proprietor: Tariq Sultan), it has been revealed that Kiran Aman the then Operations Manager has admitted and verified the fake/forged signatures of account holder as genuine with mala-fide intention.

“Noreen Sultan the then Relationship Manager has admitted the forged signatures of account holder on annexure for change of signatures other than CNIC and Adeel Shah Rashidi the then Branch Manager has signed KYC and related documents for approval of account opening, deliberately in spite of the fact that bank record (KYC) shows that account belongs to Omni Group,” according to FIR.

M/S Zardari Group (Asif All Zardari, Faryal Talpur etc) is one of the beneficiaries of Rs4.145billion and has got Rs15, 000,000, according to FIR.

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