ISLAMABAD: Asif Ali Zardari’s close aide and former provincial lawmaker Owais Muzaffar Tappi was arrested from Dubai, sources said on Tuesday.
Sources added that Tappi had been arrested for his involvement in a case pertaining to money laundering of billions through fictitious bank accounts.
The news of the arrest, however, was denied by Tappi. Speaking to media in Dubai, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader termed the arrest as "fake news".
"I am well and am in Dubai," he was quoted by the Express News.
Fake accounts case
Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson Lawai, Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza are among those being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the anti-graft watchdog separately.
The matter is also being heard by the Supreme Court. Amid complaints from the FIA and barbs flying in the top court, former CJP Nisar had ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to quicken the pace of the investigation.
The case was transferred to Islamabad after a Karachi banking court accepted the anti-graft watchdog's transfer request. The bureau filed the transfer appeal following the Supreme Court’s decision in the case wherein the joint investigation team (JIT) report and evidence collected was transmitted to the bureau for further investigations. The case is being heard by accountability court Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik.
Top court orders Bilawal, Shah’s names off ECL
The JIT report in a nutshell
According to the report, the JIT identified 11,500 bank accounts and 924 account holders at the start of their investigation.
Its experts generated 59 Suspected Transaction Reports (STR) and 24,500 Cash Transaction Reports. That means the transactions were flagged as suspicious.
Due to the high quantum of transactions, the JIT decided on a threshold of Rs10million “to track, follow and minutely investigate the flow of funds beyond the immediate counterparties and determine the source of funds and ultimate beneficiaries.”
It questioned 767 individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, while Bilawal submitted written responses.
It has since had the names of 147 individuals placed on the Provisional National Identification List, which would allow authorities to identify if those individuals try to enter or exit the country through an airport. After the report was submitted to the SC, the names of 172 individuals have been placed on the no-fly list by the interior ministry on the JIT’s request.
The investigations have focused on 32 accounts of 11 fake entities. The first account, belonging to M/S Lucky Enterprises, opened in January 2010 and remained active till January 2017. It was used for 13,809 transactions.
Damning JIT report indicts Zardari, Omni groups
The investigation uncovered that the 11 sole proprietorship entities were registered in the names of low-level employees of the Omni Group, as well as random individuals including a deceased person. All the accounts were operated by Omni Group executives.
A thorough review of the JIT report shows that representatives of State Bank and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) played a vital role in the investigation and preparation of the final report and recommendations.
Read the full text of the JIT report here
This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.