Money laundering case: Zardari’s interim bill extended again

Asia: A banking court here on Wednesday extended till February 14, the interim bail of former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur in a money laundering and fake bank accounts case, Geo News reported.

The court also extended the interim pre-arrest bail of nine other accused in the case. However, it has fixed February 6 for hearing the bail request of Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed.

The court noted the absence of Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) investigation officer, as Zardari and his along with remaining suspects appeared before it today. The FIA officer was in Islamabad and was not present at the hearing.

The court adjourned the hearing after a brief argument from the counsel.

The interim pre-arrest bail of Zardari and Talpur has been extended several times in the past few months. It was last extended on January 7.

In January last year, FIA begain an inquiry after the State Bank of Pakistan’s financial monitoring unit issued a “suspicious transaction report” for 10 bank accounts. Transactions worth billions were made over the years when over 20 ‘benami’ accounts were opened at a private bank.

At least 32 people are under the FIA legal scanner for laundering money from fictitious accounts. Zardari, however, had denied such allegations.

Last July, the FIA also arrested Stock Exchange of Pakistan chairman Hussain Lawai, who is considered to be Zardari’s close aide. In the very next month, the security agency also arrested Anwar Majeed and his son.