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KARACHI: A businessman absconding in a case pertaining to alleged money laundering appeared before a local court and deposited Rs1 million surety bonds for an interim pre-arrest bail.

Zain Malik, the son-in-law of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz, was named an absconder along with 19 alleged beneficiaries of suspicious transactions to the tune of Rs4.14 billion made through a fake bank account in the Summit Bank.

Mr Malik had surrendered before the trial court on Saturday and was granted the bail against a surety of Rs1m, but the amount could not be deposited. Therefore, he appeared before the court again on Monday and deposited the surety bonds.

In the bail plea, his counsel Azhar Siddique argued that the Federal Investiga­tion Agency (FIA) had cla­im­ed that his client had tra­nsferred Rs750m to the accounts of the Omni Group through the alleged fake bank account. He maintained that the applicant’s role was only of a depositor as he had deposited the amount through a crossed cheque for the purpose of purchase of properties.

Zain Malik named absconder along with 19 alleged beneficiaries of suspicious transactions to tune of Rs4.14bn

Therefore, the counsel claimed, Zain Malik was not involved in any case of mon­ey laundering and wanted to surrender himself before the trial court, but apprehended his arrest at the hands of the FIA since the court had issued a non-bailable warrant for his arrest. He requested the court to grant his client an interim pre-arrest bail and also vacate the arrest warrant.

Last month, the FIA detained former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai and banker Taha Raza and booked them for allegedly facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts through which suspicious transactions were made to different companies, including M/s Zardari Group.

It was alleged in the FIR that an account with the title of A-One International was fraudulently opened by using Tariq Sultan’s name in the Summit Bank and was subsequently used to place illegitimate funds for the purpose of money laundering, adding that the account statement showed that from March 6, 2014 to Jan 12, 2015, a sum of Rs4.145bn was credited and routed through this account.

The money was allegedly transferred to 13 different business entities, including the Zardari Group — a company owned by Mr Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur — which received Rs15 million, it stated.

On July 21, the investigating officer filed in the court an interim charge sheet showing Mr Zardari and Faryal Talpur among 20 alleged beneficiaries of the suspicious bank transactions, as absconders. The list of alleged absconders also included businessman Anwar Majeed, his four sons, Shahzad Ali, Zain Malik.

Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur have already obtained interim bail from the trial court.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018