A senior Pakistani banker, who is a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, has been detained by the country’s investigation agency in connection with a money laundering case. The Federal Investigation Agency detained Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman and Summit Bank vice chairman Hussain Lawai was detained from Karachi after being barred from travelling to Dubai.
Lawai and his associates are accused of opening 29 fake accounts in the Summit Bank and United Bank of Pakistan Limited. According to the FIA sources, beneficiaries of the provincial Sindh government deposited Rupees 35 billion in these fake accounts and the amount was subsequently transferred to different accounts including one allegedly belonging to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors.
Twenty-nine accounts were opened in the name of seven people, including a woman, the sources said, adding that 18 to 19 of the ‘fake’ accounts were opened in the Summit Bank alone. The sources said the financial monitoring unit of the State Bank of Pakistan alerted the FIA about ‘fictitious’ transactions in the banks. Subsequently, the FIA interrogated four of the seven persons in whose name the 29 accounts were opened. All the four people, including the woman, expressed their ignorance about the transactions and recorded their statements before the magistrate concerned.
The FIA also interrogated the Summit Bank branch manager who claimed that he had opened the accounts on the instructions of then president of the bank, Lawai.