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Monday Oct 22 2018

Fake accounts scam involved over Rs 100 billion, JIT informs SC


ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed to probe alleged mega laundering through fake bank accounts informed the Supreme Court on Monday that the scam involved over Rs100 billion.

The JIT submitted its second report on the case to the apex court earlier today, in which it revealed that what started as fictitious bank accounts evolved into an extremely complicated scam of money laundering crossing Rs100 billion.

The Federal Investigation Agency is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July in connection with the probe.

The former president's another close aide and Omni Group chairman, Anwar Majeed, and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, were also arrested by the FIA in August. Lawai, Majeed and his son remain under custody.

In its latest report to the Supreme Court, the JIT also revealed a lack of cooperation from the Sindh government in the probe and said millions of rupees were dumped in bank accounts of unsuspecting individuals and even those who have been dead for two years, through complex mechanisms.

The counsel representing Omni Group appeared before the Supreme Court today and told the chief justice that Anwar Majeed needed to be hospitalised as he faces cardiac problems and was fitted with a stent back in 1999.

To this, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that if Majeed faces health problems then he should be admitted to Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology and the court will ensure he receives excellent medical care.

Investigations so far have revealed that several ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks 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.

The Ministry of Interior earlier this month barred 95 individuals suspected to be involved in the case from leaving the country. Of these 95 individuals, 78 were placed on the Exit Control List and 17 on the FIA's provisional national identification list (PNIL) or 'stop list'.