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Foreign media raise Khaleda Zia’s money laundering

12 Dec 2017

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A television channel based in the Middle East has unveiled that authorities in Saudi Arabia have found enormous amount of illegally obtained money by some local and foreign citizens. Foreign citizens named therein include BNP Chairperson and former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri and former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

These people have amassed mammoth assets in Saudi Arabia and other parts of Middle East through money laundering, extortion, bribery and undue privileges by holding high government posts in their respective countries, it was stated.

 

The reports of Middle East agencies show that Khaleda Zia and her family have wealth equivalent to 12 billion dollars including shopping malls and multi-storied buildings in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

 

Koko was sentenced to six years in prison in 2015 and fined Tk 190 million for smuggling money while his elder brother and Khaleda Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman has been sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison by the High Court in 2016 for laundering Tk 20.41 crore, overturning a lower court decision to acquit him.
Quoting Arab-based television channel Global Intelligence Network (GIN), Canadian channel The National has broadcast the news on their assets abroad. The website GIN, incorporated in Nevada, US, since 1996 has seasoned staff that encompasses over 150 years of investigative, law enforcement and intelligence experience. It has conducted background investigations of many individuals and companies.

 

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s money laundering issue has surfaced for the first time in the international media.

 

Anti Corruption Committee of Saudi Arabia has asked banks and financial establishments of the country to provide all information about money and assets owned by them.

 

Facts have surfaced about huge investments by Khaleda Zia’s late son Arafat Rahman Koko, convicted for corruption, who died in January 2015. Koko made enormous investments outside Bangladesh, all from ill-gotten money. Similarly his elder brother Tarique Rahman, now hiding in England, invested several millions of dollars in many foreign destinations with a large chunk of the sum in Saudi Arabia and other West Asian countries during 2001-06 when Khaleda Zia was the Prime Minister. 

BNP leaders have remained tight-lipped on the issue of money laundering by Khaleda Zia family outside Bangladesh. The report has appeared in the international media at a very crucial time when the former Prime Minister is facing trial on corruption charges in Bangladesh. In Zia Orphanage Trust graft case Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman stand accused of grabbing Tk 2.10 crore that was received as grants for orphans from a foreign bank.

 

Koko was sentenced to six years in prison in 2015 and fined Tk 190 million for smuggling money while his elder brother and Khaleda Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman has been sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison by the High Court in 2016 for laundering Tk 20.41 crore, overturning a lower court decision to acquit him.

 

On September 13 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assured the Parliament that necessary measures would be initiated by the government to have Khaleda Zia’s off-shore assets investigated. Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Imam raised the issue in Parliament and quoting GIN report he presented a list of the BNP leader’s assets abroad.

 

He said Khaleda Zia family owns assets worth Tk 12 billion in 12 countries. The name of the owner of Al Arafa Shopping Mall in Saudi Arabia appears as one Ahammad Al Asad, but in reality Khaleda Zia owns it. She is also the owner of ‘Tipra’, a commercial multi storey building in Qatar. Khaleda Zia’s late younger son Arafat Rahman Koko was the owner of ‘Iqra’, a multi storey office building in Qatar while her nephew Tuhin owns three large houses in Canada being used for commercial purposes. Reports have also appeared about Tarique Rahman’s investments in Malaysia, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

 

BNP leaders have remained tight-lipped on the issue of money laundering by Khaleda Zia family outside Bangladesh. The report has appeared in the international media at a very crucial time when the former Prime Minister is facing trial on corruption charges in Bangladesh. In Zia Orphanage Trust graft case Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman stand accused of grabbing Tk 2.10 crore that was received as grants for orphans from a foreign bank.

 

Now the allegation of laundering Tk 1,200 crore in foreign countries by Khaleda Zia and her family needs to be probed into as per law and the siphoned-off money brought back.




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