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Swiss authorities to question Bhutto

A Swiss magistrate is investigating claims that the former Pakistan Prime Minister laundered millions of dollars in bribes.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 16:35 IST

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto faced a new round of questioning on Wednesday by a Swiss magistrate who is investigating claims that she laundered millions of dollars in bribes.

"It's just a routine hearing," said Bhutto's lawyer Alec Reymond before the meeting with investigating magistrate Vincent Fournier in Geneva, adding that there had been no new developments in the case.

Bhutto has been under investigation in Switzerland since 1997.

She was formally charged in 2004 over the alleged money-laundering through Swiss bank accounts of 11.7 million dollars in purported bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.

Bhutto has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has accused Pakistani authorities of trying to make political capital out of the case.

Bhutto, who governed Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996, lives in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai.

Her husband Asif Ali Zardari has also been charged. However, as at previous hearings, his lawyers said he was unable to attend Wednesday's session because of ill health.