KARACHI : The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday declared Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and at least 18 others absconders in Sindh history’s largest money laundering scam amounting to Rs35 billion.
The move comes in the wake of investigators of FIA’s State Bank Circle submitting a charge-sheet (challan) of the case against Hussain Lawai and other suspects in the court.
Among those who were declared absconders included chairman of a private bank and Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Aslam Masood, Muhammad Arif Khan, Adeel Shah Rashidi, Nasser Abdullah Hussain, Muhammad Ashraf, Adnan Jawed, Muhammad Umair, Iqbal Arain, Qasim Ali, Shahzad Ali, Azam Wazir Khan, Sher Muhammad Mugheri, Zain Malik, Muhammad Iqbal Khan Noori, Nimr Majid and Mustafa Zulqarnain.
Anwar Majeed and his son’s names appeared on top of the list while those of Zardari and Talpur were on the 19th and 20th number, respectively.
Lawai, a famous banker and Asif Ali Zardari’s close aide, was arrested by the FIA earlier this month in the same money-laundering case. He is accused to have helped facilitate the opening of 29 “fake” accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited.
Last week, Lawai and Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza were sent to jail on remand in the multi-billion-rupee money laundering scandal.
According to the FIR registered against Lawai and others, billions of rupees were deposited into fake accounts and subsequently transferred to beneficiaries, including the company owned by Zardari and his sister, the Zardari Group. The Zardari Group received Rs15 million of the laundered money, according to the FIR.
Earlier, the FIA had summoned Zardari and his sister, asking them to record their statements in the illegal transactions case.
FIA official Muhammad Ali Abro asked both Zardari and Talpur to appear before the FIA’s State Bank Circle in Karachi.
Instead of appearing personally, Zardari and Talpur had dispatched their lawyers seeking to delay a time until after the elections.
In December 2016, the Pakistan Rangers conducted raids at the Karachi office of the Omni Group of Companies and the residence of its owner Anwar Majeed, a close aid of Zardari, and confiscated record of the money laundering.
Last month, Rangers had arrested former special assistant to Sindh government, Ismail Dahiri, in a raid on his residence and fuel station in Benazirabad district. Dahiri is also considered a close aide of Zardari and an office bearer of PPP Nawabshah chapter.