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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

World

Pak court reopens Zardari's graft cases
AFP
Islamabad, October 14, 2013
First Published: 15:25 IST(14/10/2013)
Last Updated: 16:25 IST(14/10/2013)

Pakistan's anti-graft court has reopened five corruption cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari dating back to the 1990s, officials said on Monday.

The allegations against Zardari relate to kickbacks, money laundering and the illegal construction of a polo ground at the prime minister's official residence, during his slain wife Benazir Bhutto's two stints as premier.

As president Zardari enjoyed immunity from prosecution, but this ended when he stepped down after five years in September and now an anti-corruption court has taken up the cases.

"The accountability court has ordered former president Asif Ali Zardari to appear before the court on October 29," a court official told AFP.

The probe includes corruption allegations relating to customs contracts given to two Swiss companies that were behind a long-running tussle between the Supreme Court and the last government, led by Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

For more than two years PPP ministers refused to write to the Swiss to ask them to reopen their probe into claims Zardari and Bhutto laundered $12 million worth of bribes.

In June Swiss prosecutors refused to reopen the cases, saying no new evidence had emerged since they were dropped in 2008 and in any event the statute of limitations had expired.


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