KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned the former President and leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, and his sister Faryal Talpur in connection with a Rs35 billion ($0.29 billion) money-laundering scam, said FIA official.
The senior official, who requested anonymity, told Arab News that summonses have been sent and if the accused fail to receive them, they will be posted to their residences in Karachi as per procedure. “An internal investigation team has also been formed to interrogate both Zardari and his sister,” the official told.
Arab News obtained a copy of the the summonses, which were issued on July 9. They ordered former President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Taplur to appear before the banking circle of FIA Karachi on Wednesday (tomorrow).
“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,” reads the summon issued to the former President by Muhammad Ali Abro, Assistant Director, Banking Circle of FIA Sindh.
The summonses, which warned Zardari and Faryal of the initiation of legal action in case of noncompliance, read: “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.”
Names of Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur have already been placed on the Exit Control List.
According to a FIR registered by the FIA’s Banking Circle Karachi, the former president and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari, and his sister, Faryal Talpur, are among 13 people who benefited from the arrangement.
The police first investigation report (FIR) says that M/S Zardari Group (Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, etc) got Rs15 million and were among the beneficiaries of the transaction trail of fake bank accounts maintained by Omni Group, owned by Anwar Majeed, another close aide of the former president.
Different entities owned by Majeed can be found in the list of depositors and beneficiaries of the fake bank account maintained in the name of a citizen without his approval.
The FIR found that one of the depositors in the fake account turned out to be M/S Bahria Town Karachi project and Zain Malik, who had deposited Rs750 million. Neither Malik nor the spokesperson of his Bahria Town Karachi project responded to Arab News’ requests for a comment.
Muhammad Ali Abro, assistant director of the FIA’s Karachi Banking Circle, informed the local magistrate on Saturday that during the inquiry into the suspicious transaction of 29 accounts, it was established that one of them was fraudulently opened in the name of Tariq Sultan by using his national identity card.
“This account was subsequently used to place illegitimate funds for purposes of money-laundering,” reads the FIR, a copy of which is available with Arab News.
According to the FIA, when Sultan denied he had opened the account, the agency started conducting its inquiry and the signatures on bank documents were found to be forged.
The FIA obtained the money trail and interviewed those involved in the opening of a fake account, leading the agency to conclude that Hussain Lawai, the then chairman of Summit Bank, had ordered the opening of the account for money-laundering purposes. According to the agency, the investigation of another 28 accounts is under way.
In a previous interview on Saturday the spokesperson of the former president had said Asif Ali Zardari has also been maligned in the past. “I am really not surprised to see his name in the FIR,” Farhatullah Babar told Arab News.
“To me, this seems to be part of pre-polls rigging. Zardari spent 11 years in jail without conviction. The present bubble will also burst into nothingness,” he added.