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Saturday Aug 04 2018

FIA team hands over evidence to JIT in Rs35bn money laundering case: sources

KARACHI: A team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials has collected evidence in a Rs35 billion money laundering case involving Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur and others, and handed it over to the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the case, sources informed Geo News Friday.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, under which Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was also arrested last month.

On Wednesday, the investigation agency had issued notices to former president Asif Zardari and Talpur to appear before the JIT probing the matter on August 4.

A key meeting of the JIT was also summoned in Karachi on Friday, during which a team of FIA officials handed over evidence to the JIT.

According to sources, so far money trail of Rs23 billion out of Rs35 billion has been obtained. The JIT investigating the matter will await Zardari and Faryal Talpur for questioning at the FIA Headquarters in Islamabad on Saturday.

The sources said that the JIT has decided not to register further cases with regard to money laundering until the next hearing of the case by the Supreme Court on August 6.

They said that legal action would be taken against the former president and his sister it they failed to appear before the JIT on Saturday.

The sources further disclosed that the FIA faced some difficulties in the investigation so far and that the officials may request for formation of a JIT like the one that was formed in Panama leaks case.

The FIA had earlier summoned Talpur and Zardari on July 11, however, the siblings had failed to appear before the agency.

Talpur had later asked FIA to provide more time to them for submitting a response.

The probe

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.


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