FIA issues notices to Zardari, Faryal Talpur in money-laundering scam

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KARACHI : The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday issued notices summoning former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, in relation to a Rs35 billion money laundering scam.

Zardari and Talpur have been summoned on July 11 (Wednesday) to record their statements in the case and a notice has been issued to them in this regard.

The notices issued by FIA Inspector Muhammad Ali have asked the siblings to appear before FIA’s State Bank Circle in Karachi.

On Monday, the names of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman and his sister were placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) on Supreme Court’s orders.

Further, the PPP co-chairman and his sister are among 20 summoned by the apex court on July 12 in relation to the money laundering case.
Inspector General (IG) Sindh Amjad Javed Saleemi has been directed by the apex court to ensure their presence for the hearing.

Last week, the FIA registered a case in Karachi over a money laundering scandal of Rs35 billion said to implicate politicians, businessmen and bankers.

On July 6, the agency arrested Stock Exchange of Pakistan chairman Hussain Lawai, who is considered to be a close aide of Zardari.
The FIA officials maintain that 32 people, including Lawai, are being investigated for laundering billions of rupees through fictitious bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the FIA has constituted a seven-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the matter. The team will be headed by Addition DG FIA Dr Najaf Mirza.

The JIT includes Director FIA Punjab Dr Usman Anwar, Director FIA Sindh Muneer Ahmed Sheikh, Additional Director Banking Circle Karachi Faizullah Korejo, Deputy Director FIA Sindh Ali Mardan Khoso and two deputy directors of FIA Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Ahmed and Khalid Anis.

The investigation team will be able to get assistance from any additional member and will probe fake bank accounts.
The FIA inquiry started when the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a ‘suspicious transaction report’ in January this year regarding ten bank accounts.

Sources maintain that over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at a private bank were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees’ were made.

The amount according to FIA sources is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes. But despite these huge transactions, the bank authorities never reported them to the authorities concerned including the FIA.

On Sunday, the Supreme Court ordered to place the names of heads of three private banks involved in the scam on the ECL.

The order came as Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the slow pace of inquiry into the case.

The apex court has summoned seven fake bank account holders and 13 beneficiaries on July 12.

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