Money laundering case: JIT recommends freezing Zardari, Omni groups’ assets

ISLAMABAD: The joint investigation team (JIT), probing money laundering of several billion rupees from fictitious bank accounts in Pakistan, on Saturday recommended “freezing” all assets of former President Asif Ali Zardari his sister Faryal Talpur and Zardari and Omni groups.

The case, against Zardari and several other individuals, pertains to allegations of money laundering of around Rs220 billion through fictitious bank accounts.

The JIT submitted its recommendations to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and recommended freezing Bilawal House, Karachi and Lahore, Zardari House, Islamabad, New York and Dubai properties owned by Zardari, alongside all five plots of Bilawal House in Karachi.

It recommended freezing all urban and agricultural lands owned by Zardari, Faryal Talpur, and the Zardari Group.

The JIT also requested to the Hon. Supreme Court for freezing of all assets of Omni Group, including its sugar mills, agricultural companies and energy companies.

The JIT recommended the assets should remain frozen until a verdict in the multi-billion rupees money laundering case, expressing concerns that these assets might be transferred out of country.

The JIT also requested the Supreme Court to order Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) not to allow changing names of Zardari and Omni group’s directors.

It further noted that Zardari established a ‘benami’ company through his front man Iqbal Memon, which was frozen in 1998.

However, the company was returned to Zardari in 2008 through Dr Dinshaw, the JIT stated in its report.

In its detailed investigative report, the JIT accused Zardari and Omni groups of irregularities in loans and government funds. The report said that both the groups transferred money out of country through ‘Hundi’ and ‘Hawala’.

Zardari, Talpur reject JIT report

Former President and Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, rejected the JIT report in their written reply submitted to the Supreme Court taking stance that the report was based on speculation and targeted political victimisation.