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'Zia's son deposited funds illegally in Singapore bank'

world Updated: Dec 19, 2008 11:17 IST
IANS
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In a poll eve embarrassment for former prime minister Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh's anti-graft body has charged that her younger son had illegally deposited 111.3 million taka ($2.60 million) in a Singapore bank.

A top official of Bangladesh's Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) announced on Thursday that the Singapore government anti-graft watchdog had supplied the information.

The ACC had assigned an officer to probe details of the money transactions by Arafat Rahman Koko, The Daily Star newspaper said on Friday.

A businessman, Koko was jailed for graft for several months before being sent out on bail by a court for medical treatment in Singapore.

Zia's elder son, Tarique, a politician, too has been convalescing for reported spine injury during his jail term.

Both have kept away from the poll scene, but Zia makes emotional appeals during the campaign alleging that the current caretaker government had impaired the health of her sons and delayed their medical treatment, calling it "political vendetta against my family".

The ninth general election is due Dec 29 and Zia is in the midst of a hectic campaign, accusing both the caretaker government and the Election Commission of "planning" the poll in a partisan manner.

ACC Director General (Administration) Col Hanif Iqbal told the media that Koko had transferred some of the funds to the Singapore branch of French bank Credit Industriel et Commercial after charges were pressed against him.

The transfers were to an account Koko holds in the name of a firm named ZASZ Trading and Consulting Pvt Ltd in Singapore, jointly with a Singapore national, who is Koko's paid service agent.

The transactions have taken place since 2005, when Koko's mother was the prime minister of Bangladesh. Non-resident foreigners cannot open a company in Singapore and need a Singaporean agent to do that, ACC sources said.

The Singapore government recently froze the ZASZ account and sent necessary documents to the ACC, prompting the commission to initiate legal procedures.

"Legal procedures have already been initiated and the commission is currently enquiring into the matter. Once the enquiry finds the allegations are true, legal proceedings will be taken against the persons involved and efforts will be made to bring back the money," Iqbal said.

The ACC has already filed three other cases against Koko.

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