Zardari expected to appear before SC in money laundering case today

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is expected to appear before the Supreme Court today in the money laundering case.

Strict security arrangements are in place at the apex court in light of the former president’s expected appearance.

On July 9, the Supreme Court had summoned Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others in a case relating to a Rs35 billion money-laundering scam. In a suo motu notice, the court had ordered the duo, along with others, to appear before it on July 12.
Official said the former president has decided to appear before the apex court after consultation with his team of legal advisers.
He was expected to reach Islamabad from Lahore late Wednesday night.
Earlier on Wednesday, reports suggested that Zardari’s counsel would represent him in the case before the apex court.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating 32 people in relation to money-laundering from fictitious accounts, under which Zardari’s close aide and Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Hussain Lawai was also arrested earlier this week.
The names of the former president and his sister have already been placed on the Exit Control List — barring them from travelling abroad.
The PPP co-chairman denies involvement in the scam.
Speaking during an interview, he said that he will face the bogus cases like he did in the past, adding that he was sent a notice of Rs150 million rather than the propagated Rs35 billion.

He also said that it was the time for election, not for accountability, and that his party would not boycott the forthcoming polls. He added that accountability should take place either before or after election season.

“We won’t give anyone opportunity by boycotting the election,” he added.

Rejecting the allegations against him, the PPP supremo said he has face cases before and will do so again.

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.
Official 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 July 8, 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.