Court orders transfer of money laundering case to Islamabad

Cancels the interim bails granted to Zardari, Talpur and others; cancels bail bonds of all suspects; during the last hearing on March 11, the court had reserved its decision; Zardari says transfer of case will make no difference to him

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Staff Report

KARACHI

A banking court on Friday ordered the transfer of the fake bank accounts and mega money laundering case to Islamabad.

The banking court in Karachi announced its decision on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) petition to transfer the money laundering case to Islamabad. During the last hearing on Monday, the court had reserved its decision.

Former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai and Omni Group chairman Anwer Majeed’s son Abdul Ghani Majeed, who have been booked and detained over their alleged involvement in the case, appeared before the court for the hearing. Meanwhile, Majeed’s three other sons, Nimr Majeed, Zulqurnain Majeed and Ali Kamal Majeed, who are suspects in the case and were present in court fled after the hearing.

The court also withdrew the bail granted to former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and other suspects in the case. The banking court further ordered that the bail bonds of all suspects be cancelled.

Last month, a NAB prosecutor had filed a statement with the trial court on behalf of NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, stating that the investigation of the case had been transferred to the anti-graft watchdog by the apex court. Therefore, he requested the trial court’s judge to transfer the proceedings of trial in the present case to the accountability court in Rawalpindi.

Zardari appeared before the court after the verdict had been announced. Talpur’s counsel, meanwhile, informed the court that his client was sick, and filed an application for the court to grant her permission to skip the hearing.

In an informal chat with the journalists Asif Ali Zardari said transferring the mega money laundering case from Karachi to Islamabad makes no difference to him.

Responding to a question former president Asif Ali Zardari said “I don’t know motive behind transferring the case from Karachi to Islamabad but only the legal experts can tell about it.

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

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018.

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 sources.

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