JIT Requests SC To Freeze 37 Assets of Asif Ali Zardari - Insight Trending
JIT Requests SC To Freeze 37 Assets of Asif Ali Zardari

JIT Requests SC To Freeze 37 Assets of Asif Ali Zardari 

While noting the possibility of assets being transferred abroad, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) joint investigation team (JIT) which unearthed the Rs42 billion money laundering scam has requested the Supreme Court to freeze all assets of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari and the Omni Group.

The FIA’s attorney Faisal Siddiqi on Saturday submitted an application in the apex court along with a list of the alleged assets of Zardari and Omni Group, whose owners are among the key accused in the scam that involves the alleged transfer of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts.

The JIT has requested the SC to freeze all of Zardari’s assets including Bilawal Houses – the PPP’s political centres – in Lahore and Karachi till the final decision of an accountability court. The top court will resume hearing the suo motu case tomorrow (Monday).

The JIT’s application says that evidence brought on record during the JIT investigation clearly indicates that Zardari Group and Omni Group, which started with paid up capital of Rs600 in 1981 and Rs6,000 in 2001, respectively, amassed assets through misappropriation of loans, government funds, kickbacks, and proceeds of crimes. The available evidence suggests that these groups have histories of laundering their illegal proceeds abroad through hundi and hawala, it adds.

“The august Supreme Court of Pakistan is requested to freeze the assets of Zardari and Omni groups held through various subsidiary and front companies and assets held in the names of their directors, pending the final adjudication by the accountability courts, lest this ‘money laundering cartel’, shifts their assets, abroad,” says the application.

It says a company, IBSC, was identified to be a ‘Benami’ of Zardari, held in the name of his then front-man Iqbal Memon of International Builders, and was frozen in 1998. After being exposed, Memon fled the country for Canada. However, that property changed hands in 2000 through Nasir Jamal’s AR Developers and ultimately came back to Zardari in 2008, this time through the company Park Lane.

The JIT says plots C5 & 6, Clifton, Karachi were identified and frozen in 1998 as per the Ehtisab Commission report in Ehtisab Reference No. 26/1998 as ‘Benami’ of Zardari held in the name of Galaxy Construction, owned by his then front-man Saleem Akhter.

“This property has also again come back to be held by Asif Ali Zardari through Galaxy Construction, owned by his present front-man Dr Dinshaw Hoshang Ankleseria.”

In view of these apprehensions and in addition to freezing the assets, the JIT has recommended the SC to direct the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) not to change ownership through changes of directors of a number of companies holding the identified assets.

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