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Hussain Lawai remanded into FIA custody until July 11 in money laundering case

Updated July 07, 2018

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Hussain Lawai appeared before a judicial magistrate in Karachi on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Hussain Lawai appeared before a judicial magistrate in Karachi on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

A judicial magistrate in Karachi on Saturday remanded Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Hussain Lawai and co-accused Taha Raza in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) until July 11 in a money laundering case.

On Friday, the FIA had detained Lawai and Raza, accusing them of facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited.

According to the FIR registered against Lawai and Raza, billions of rupees were deposited into the said fake accounts and subsequently transferred to different accounts, including that of PPP Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur's company — Zardari Group — which is shown to have received Rs15 million.

As per the contents of the report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the biggest transfer made out of the alleged fake accounts was to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors.

Agro Farms Thatta, a reported holding of Zardari's close aide Anwar Majeed, is also mentioned as one of the beneficiaries.

The FIR stated that the accused bankers "opened fake/forged accounts by fraudulently fulfilling the codal formalities i.e. obtaining signatures".

Furthermore, it alleged that a sum of Rs4.5 billion was credited and routed through the accounts during a span of 10 months.

The FIA identified Bahria Town Karachi and Omni Pvt Ltd among the 15 parties that had made deposits totaling Rs2.855 billion into the aforesaid accounts.

The FIR said that the beneficiaries into whose accounts the monies were routed have been issued summons.

'I am innocent'

In a brief chat with media personnel, Lawai maintained his innocence and said he would ask for relief from the court on account of his medical condition. "I have nothing to do with this case. Nothing has been recovered from me," he said.

"This case is about money laundering; those who did this [money laundering] are abroad, and I have been accused."

"I am a heart patient. I will also ask the court to give me medical relief," he added.

When asked if he had been arrested due to his rumoured friendship with Zardari, Lawai said: "I do not know if I have been arrested because of Asif Ali Zardari or something else. Only time will tell why I am being targeted."

Who is Hussain Lawai?

Lawai, who is currently the vice chairman of the Summit Bank, also served as its president from 2008 to 2016. He previously served as the Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman as well.

He held the position of president and CEO at the MCB Bank and holds the distinction of establishing the Faysal Islamic Bank, Pakistan branches; the first Islamic Shariah Compliant Bank (presently known as Faysal Bank Limited). He also served as general manager at Emirates NBD Bank for Pakistan and Far East.

Currently, Lawai is also on the board of directors of Wyeth Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Pakistan Ltd and The Searle Company Ltd. He also serves on the Board of Governors of Karachi Grammar School and Virtual University of Pakistan.

He also served on the board of directors of Pakistan International Airlines and State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan.

He did his MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.