Thursday, April 22, 2021

Former Pakistan president Zardari facing money laundering charges granted bail on health grounds

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A court in Pakistan on Wednesday granted bail to the country’s former President Asif Ali Zardari, who is facing charges of money laundering and a corruption case about illegal grant of land in the capital Islamabad, lawyers said.

Bilawal Bhutto, son of Zardari, and chairman of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), confirmed the bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on health grounds.

Pakistan’s anti-graft body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), arrested in June this year Zardari who served as the president of the country since 2008 to 2013.

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NAB officials said Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and nearly 30 people are involved in money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts.

NAB also accused the former president of allotting land in Islamabad to an estate company owned by Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Zardari’s lawyers argued that their client had withdrawn from the company Park Lane Estate in 2008.

Zardari, who is presently getting treatment at a local hospital in Islamabad, has denied the charges, saying they were “politically-motivated.”

NAB told the court that Zardari has been found directly involved in the illegal money transfer to other countries through fake bank accounts.

IHC ordered the release of Zardari on bail and asked him to submit surety bonds of 20 million rupees in bail in two cases.

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A medical board presented a report about the health of the former president which said he suffers from several diseases including cardiac problem and needs 24-hour medical attention.

Bilawal told reporters in Islamabad that the Pakistani government is “putting pressure” on political opponents.

The government said it has nothing to do with Zardari’s corruption cases as they were filed by NAB which is an independent anti-graft body.

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