Zardari, Faryal vow to appear after elections in FIA’s money-laundering probe

KARACHI, July 11 (INP): The legal team of former president Asif Ali Zardari submitted his reply before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday in relation to the Rs35 billion money-laundering scam.

Two junior counsels of the former president’s lawyer, Farooq Naek, appeared before the FIA State Bank Circle and submitted his reply.

The reply stated that Zardari and sister Faryal Talpur will appear before the investigators after the July 25 general election as both are contesting in the upcoming polls.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from benami account, under which Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was also arrested earlier. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders consulted senior lawyers over FIA’s summoning of Zardari and they advised him against appearing before the investigative agency. PPP leaders Farooq Naek, Latif Khosa, Aitzaz Ahsan and Nayyar Bokhari briefed the former president on the case. According to sources, the investigative agency decided not to immediately arrest the siblings. The PPP co-chairman and his sister are also among 20 suspects summoned by the Supreme Court on July 12 in relation to the case and Inspector General (IG) Sindh Amjad Javid Saleemi has been directed by the apex court to ensure their presence for the hearing. Further, Zardari and Talpur’s names have been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the Supreme Court’s orders. Last week, the FIA registered a case in Karachi over a money laundering scandal of Rs35 billion said to implicate politicians, businessmen and bankers. On July 6, the agency arrested Stock Exchange of Pakistan chairman Hussain Lawai, who is considered to be a close aide of Zardari. The FIA officials maintain that 32 people, including Lawai, are being investigated for laundering billions of rupees through fictitious bank accounts. Meanwhile, the FIA has constituted a seven-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the matter. INP/LK/AJ