Zardari, Talpur record statements before FIA in money laundering case

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ISLAMABAD : Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, on Monday appeared before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and recorder their statements in a money laundering case.

FIA Additional DG Najaf Mirza, who chaired a meeting at the agency’s Islamabad office earlier today, probed Zardari and Talpur.

The former president and his sister were questioned for around 35 minutes. According to sources, Zardari avoided answering some questions.

Speaking to the media after his questioning, Zardari said, “Unfortunately the money laundering case was formed against him during former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure.”

The FIA issued notices on Saturday to the former president and his sister to appear at the agency’s headquarters in Islamabad.

This is the fourth time the agency summoned the former president and his sister in connection to a multi-billion money laundering scam.

Zardari’s counsel Farooq Naik earlier denied that FIA’s case includes money laundering charges.

The FIA has to submit a report in the Supreme Court regarding the ongoing probe on Tuesday.

On August 17, a local banking court in Karachi had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Zardari and other absconding suspects in the ongoing probe.

The court ordered the suspects to be arrested and presented before it by September 4.

However, on August 18, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) approved the former president’s petition for protective bail in the case.

Zardari had filed a petition in the IHC through his counsels Aitzaz Ahsan and Latif Khosa after a local banking court on August 17 issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the former president and other absconding suspects in the ongoing probe.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources. The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

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