KARACHI: Famous banker and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s close confidant, Hussain Lawai, was on Saturday remanded in custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for four days till July 11 in a case of alleged money laundering of billions of rupees.
Lawai, who is also chairperson of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and has served as head of the Summit Bank, was taken into custody on Friday when he reached the FIA’s zonal office to record his statement in connection with investigations into alleged illegal bank transactions.
The agency had also arrested Taha Raza Hussain, another senior banker. The FIA while investigating into case of 29 ‘fake accounts’ found a nexus of at least ten people including bankers, politicians and businessmen allegedly having different roles as facilitators and beneficiaries.
The names of Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, his close aide Anwar Majeed and the Summit Bank Chairman Nasser Abdullah Lootah are among these people, according to sources in the FIA.
Billions of rupees were deposited in fake accounts and subsequently transferred to different accounts including an account of the Zardari Group – a business owned by Zardari and Talpur that received about Rs15 millions, the FIR said.
The FIA officials, investigating the fake accounts, said that Lawai and Raza have so far been arrested while the remaining suspects involved in money laundering are abroad.
“The FIA investigators are trying to tighten the noose around the suspects and trying to arrest them with the help of Interpol,” said an official, adding that it has issued summons to beneficiaries – both individuals and companies – to explain the receipt of transactions.
However, none of them has appeared so far. According to a copy of the FIR registered against Lawai and others, upon inquiry into suspicious transactions on 29 accounts, it was established that one of the accounts in the name of a Tariq Sultan was fraudulently opened by using Sultan’s CNIC.
“This account was subsequently used to place illegitimate funds for purpose of money laundering. The purported account holder Tariq Sultan denied to have opened the said account,” read an FIR.