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Pakistan

Web Desk
September 9, 2020

Asif Zardari to be indicted on Sept 17 in money-laundering and Park Lane references

Pakistan

Web Desk
Wed, Sep 09, 2020
Zardari files petition requesting court dismiss the money-laundering reference that NAB has filed. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari is likely to be indicted in the money-laundering case and the Park Lane reference on September 17, after the PPP co-chairperson filed a new plea, seeking acquittal in the supplementary reference on Wednesday.

At the outset of the hearing, Zardari’s counsel, Farooq H Naik, filed the petition requesting the court dismiss the money-laundering reference that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed against his client.

The prosecutor for the anti-graft watchdog, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, objected to the fresh application before indictment in the case, saying they were asking for time to prepare their own petition.

“I am ready to present arguments on it, why aren’t they? We have not filed any supplementary reference in the money laundering case," Abbasi said.

"The case was transferred from Karachi so he had filed a reference after his interrogation," he maintained.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Accountability Court Judge Azam Khan adjourned the hearing till September 17.

Park Lane reference

Later, a hearing of the supplementary Park Lane reference began in the court in which the former president and other accused were present.

Following a brief hearing, the accountability court adjourned further proceedings, as well as Zardari's indictment, until September 17.

It should be noted that a NAB team had arrested Zardari on June 11, 2019, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected his bail.

Mega money-laundering case

In October 2015, the anti-corruption wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Karachi received a tip-off of suspicious intra-bank transactions from the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank, and the United Bank Limited (UBL).

The account-holders' profiles did not match their earnings/income.

The FIA suspected that these accounts were being run by the Zardari Group and Omni Group, amongst others.

The case dragged on until June 2018, when the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the fake accounts and directed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the matter.

The JIT concluded that 32 fake bank accounts were being operated by 11 fake entities to launder money from “kickbacks, land grabbing, and large scale misappropriation of public funds”.