Pakistan to go after Zardari in Swiss case: lawyer

  • Pakistan to go after Zardari in Swiss case: lawyer

    GENEVA: Pakistan will pursue Benazir Bhutto’s widower Asif Ali Zardari for $54 million, which it says the couple hid illegally in Switzerland, its lawyer said on Tuesday.

    A hearing is expected in Geneva in late January in the long-running money-laundering case, begun in 1997 against Benazir and Zardari, according to Jacques Python, Pakistan’s lawyer.

    “We remain a civil party in the (criminal) procedure against Mr Zardari,” Python told Reuters. “She [Benazir] appears little in the bank documents. On the other hand, Zardari’s name appears as the beneficial owner of most of the frozen accounts,” Python said.

    The couple always denied the charges but were convicted in 2003 of laundering funds worth $13 million and ordered to return it to Pakistan.

    But the verdict was thrown out on appeal, sparking a fresh probe. The forthcoming hearing in Geneva will decide whether the case is further probed or goes to chief prosecutor Daniel Zappelli who can drop it or order a trial. Saverio Lembo, Zardari’s lawyer in Geneva, reaffirmed that his client denied the money-laundering charges. “We requested that the case be sent back to the judge for more investigation, including calling other witnesses,” Lembo told Reuters. “My client has never been heard in this case.” reuters