Pak court indicts former President Zardari in Park Lane corruption case

Asif Ali Zardari

An accountability court here on Monday indicted former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in connection with the Park Lane corruption case.

Zardari appeared before the court via video link from Bilawal House in Karachi. He pleaded not guilty and the trial will continue, according to The Express Tribune.

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan heard the case and during the hearing, Zardari said that he cannot be indicted in the absence of lawyers as they are at the Supreme Court. However, the court rejected Zardari's plea and said that the former Pakistan President will be indicted and his lawyers would be marked absent if they did not appear before the court.

Other accused in the case -- Omni Group chief Anwar Majeed, Sher Ali, Farooq Abdullah, Saleem Faisal and Muhammad Hanif were also indicted during the hearing.

As per the indictment, Zardari influenced relevant authorities to release loans to front companies during his term as president. He was accused of being a director of Park Lane firm and planning to commit fraud.

With a malafide intention, Zardari allegedly got a loan of Rs 1.5 billion for his front company, Parthenon Private Limited, and the amount was transferred for personal use through fake accounts.

The Park Lane corruption case is being probed over Zardari's alleged involvement in extending loan and its misappropriation by Parthenon Private Limited under different sections of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, The Express Tribune reported.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has accused Zardari of causing the national exchequer a loss of Rs 3.77 billion through fake bank accounts.

In a 13-page NAB reference against the former president and other accused, the NAB alleged that the accused created benami properties through Park Lane Company, using Parthenon Private Limited as the front organisation.

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