FIA summons Zardari and Faryal Talpur in money laundering case. Corrupt practices and people responsible for these practices are the target of the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) and the authorities has now opened its probe into PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur reported money laundering activities; the probe into 29 ‘benami’ accounts. Zardari and his sister have been summoned by FIA for allegedly using fake accounts to channel illicit funds. And the duo is to appear today before the authorities.
The development is the result of the Supreme Court’s direction to the Interior Ministry for placing the names of all those connected to the accounts on its Exit Control List (ECL) to prevent them from leaving the country before the conclusion of the case. Zardari’s friend and Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Hussain Lawai, as well as Summit Bank’s corporate unit head Taha Raza, have been taken into FIA custody regarding the case. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by FIA Sindh chief Munir Ahmed Shaikh, was constituted to investigate the matter. Today’s appearance of the duo in front of the authorities is subjected to record the statements and explanation of both for their position on the accounts and transactions. Star lawyers Farooq H. Naek, Aitzaz Ahsan, Nayar Bukhari and Latif Khosa are reported to brief Zardari on his legal options. PPP leader Saeed Ghani has issued a statement linking the “character assassination” of Asif Zardari to the ongoing election campaign. Last week, the apex court had taken suo motu notice of a 2015 probe into suspicious transactions made through 29 ‘benami’ accounts including 16 in Summit Bank, eight in Sindh Bank & five in UBL. 5 more individuals, alongside Zardari and Talpur, were said to be involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions which summed up to Rs35 bn. The apex court has summoned Nasser Abdulla Lootah, Ansari Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd (Anwar Majeed, Ali Kamal Majeed), Omni Polymer Packages Pvt Ltd, Pak Ethnol Pvt Ltd, Chamber Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd, M/s Agro Farms Thatta Pvt Ltd; Zardari Group Pvt Ltd (Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur), Parthenon Pvt Ltd (Iqbal Khan Noori), A-One International (account identified in Suspicious Transaction Report), Lucky International (STR), Logistic Trading (STR), Royal International (STR) and Umair Associates (STR) among the suspected beneficiaries. All the suspects have been directed to appear before the court.