Zardari, Faryal Talpur indicted in money-laundering reference case

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court indicted former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in mega-money laundering reference case.

Zardari appeared in the accountability court on Monday along with his daughter Aseefa Bhutto Zardari presided by judge Azam Khan.  He denied all charges and agreed to contest them. Zardari’s counsel Farooq H. Naek was not present due to his appearance in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Zardari and his Faryal Talpur were indicted in the mega-money laundering case. The counsel for prominent businessman Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza who are currently under custody was given a copy of the charge sheet.

Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, who appeared via video link, was also indicted in the reference case. Majeed is currently on bail due to medical reasons. He also pleaded innocent and decided to contest the charges against him. His son Abdul Ghani Majeed has also been indicted.

The court then presents a charge sheet of all allegations against Zardari and Faryal Talpur. The court then allowed Zardari and his sister to leave the court premises.

Reacting to the news, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said “Victimisation of the opposition continues during a global pandemic”, adding that Zardari and Talpur have been appearing in court for the past two years.

“Runaway dictator traitor, three special assistants, ministers and the premier’s sister won’t be summoned because we have two laws in Pakistan,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Zardari challenged the mega-money laundering and the Park Lane reference trials in the Islamabad High Court, pleading not guilty in both the cases.

Zardari is also expected to be indicted in the Park Lane and Thatta reference case. The Islamabad High Court had earlier ruled that the reference against Zardari cannot be dropped.

The accountability court had dismissed three petitions against Asif Ali Zardari’s NAB references. The court had said that the former president could not be acquitted in NAB references. The court had also ordered to charge Zardari in all the three corruption references.

Nadeem Bhutto, in-charge of Naudero House, was arrested in Thatta Water Supply Reference. Asif Zardari was named as the accused after the interrogation of Nadeem Bhutto.

It is stated in the reference that illegal contracts of Thatta Water Supply were awarded. As a result of these contracts, money kept coming into Nadeem Bhutto’s accounts through fake accounts and Nadeem Bhutto continued to manage Nodero House with this money.

Read more: Hearing against Nawaz, Zardari in Toshakhana case postponed

In the Park Lane Company reference, Asif Zardari, out of 17, indicted a total of 13 accused, including 10 individuals and three companies. The three accused named in the reference are Younis Qadwai, Uzair Naeem, and Iqbal Memon.

In the Park Lane reference, Zardari is accused of causing a loss of Rs 3.77 billion to the national exchequer through fake bank accounts. Other accused in the reference include PPP senators Usman Saifullah, Anwar Saifullah, and Saleem Saifullah.

Zardari is also accused of buying 2,460 kanals of land in Islamabad through the Park Lane Company, while Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is also named in the case.

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