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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Thursday submitted its reply before the Accountability Court pertaining to the acquittal pleas filed by the accused of the corruption reference regarding loss of Rs25 billion to the Sindh Bank through money laundering, under the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.

The Accountability Court-II judge, Muhammad Azam Khan, while hearing the case, against former Sindh Bank president Bilal Sheikh, former president Asif Ali Zardari’s close aide Aftab Memon, and Omni Group head Abdul Ghani Majeed, and others, adjourned the hearing till February 10, after the anti-graft body submitted its reply regarding the acquittal applications of the accused, Tariq Ehsan, Asad Ali Shah, and Masooma Hussain.

In the acquittal applications, the defence counsels adopted the stance that after promulgation of the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, the same does not fall under the jurisdiction of the NAB.

According to a joint investigation report of fake accounts case, a project loan of Rs1 billion was disbursed to M/s Rubicon Builders (Pvt) Ltd on December 1, 2014 by the Sindh Bank.

However, these funds were diverted from the stated purpose and routed through various fake accounts through multiple split transactions (smurfing technique of layering/money-laundering) on the same date, and transferred to the account of Nasser Abdullah Lootah.

It was then “injected into Summit Bank as equity”. As per the report, it is noteworthy that M/s Rubicon is owned by Younas Kidwai (a trusted front man of Zardari) and Aslam Masood (CFO, Omni Group).

Hence, M/s Rubicon is a “shady” company “controlled” by Zardari, and was directly involved in “misappropriation” and diverting loans into Summit Bank as (laundered) equity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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