Islamabad: Pakistan's former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur appeared before a joint investigation team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday in Islamabad to record their statement in a Rs 35 billion money laundering and fake bank accounts case.
In July, the Supreme Court listed 63-year-old Zardari and his sister as beneficiaries in an alleged scam "running into billions of rupees" that led to the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman's close aide and famous banker Hussain Lawai.
The FIA issued notices on Saturday to the former president and his sister to appear at the agency's headquarters in Islamabad on Monday. This is the fourth time they have been summoned, Dawn newspaper reported.
The two, along with several PPP leaders — including former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervez Ashraf — reached the FIA office amid tight security.
An FIA team grilled the siblings on fake accounts and transactions associated with them, the paper said. "It is a fake case and unfortunately the case against me was filed during the tenure of Nawaz Sharif. It was filed on the behest of Mian Sahab," Zardari told the media outside the FIA office. "The FIA (officials) can ask whatever they want, but the crux of the matter is (the) facts (speak otherwise)," he said when asked about the probe.
Zardari served as the 11th President of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013.
The FIA has been asked by the Supreme Court to submit a comprehensive report in connection with the fake accounts case on Tuesday.
Initially, Zardari and Talpur avoided appearing before the agency and expressed their distrust in the FIA officials.
On 17 August, a local banking court in Karachi had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Zardari and other absconding suspects in the ongoing probe.
The court ordered the suspects to be arrested and presented before it by 4 September.
On 18 August, the Islamabad High Court approved the former president's petition for protective bail in the case.
Zardari had filed a petition in the court through his counsels Aitzaz Ahsan and Latif Khosa after a local banking court on August 17 issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the former president and other absconding suspects in the ongoing probe.
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious 29 accounts, including Zardari and his sister Talpur. Zardari's close aide Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe.
In addition to 29 bank accounts already under scrutiny, the investigators have "detected 15 more suspicious accounts", according to a senior FIA official.
These accounts were opened in the names of persons other than those in whose names the 29 accounts were opened, said the official. Up to Rs 1 billion, Rs 2 billion and Rs 3 billion had been transferred from these newly discovered accounts, he added.
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Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 17:28:26 IST