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Court indicts Zia’s younger son on money laundering charge

December 01
03:26 2010

DHAKA: A Dhaka court has indicted main opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko in absentia on money laundering charges, court officials and reports said here today.

Special Court judge Mozammel Haque framed the charges against Koko, now in Singapore, and another person and fixed January 4 to start trial of the money laundering case.

“The trial against (Koko and co-accused Ismail Hossain Saimon, son of former Shipping Minister late Akbar Hossain) will continue in their absence,” a court official quoted the judge as saying after the indictment yesterday.

Koko was arrested in 2007 on graft charges under a massive anti-graft campaign under emergency rules during the past military backed interim government and was paroled for treatment abroad in July 2008.

The incumbent government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina scrapped his parole and ordered his return from Bangkok earlier this year but the Supreme Court stayed the order in October allowing him to stay for six more weeks abroad.

In November 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) formally accused Koko of siphoning 28.84 lakh Singaporean dollars and USD 9.32 lakh out of the country.

His co-accused Saimon was declared fugitive as he was on the run since the installation of the erstwhile army-backed government in January 2007 after a presidential declaration of state of emergency.

This charge came as the ACC carried out the probe teaming up with the US and British authorities to recover millions of dollars stashed by Koko and several other high-profile suspects in Singapore banks. Singaporean authorities in December 2008 froze assets worth USD 1.6 million associated with a company Koko established in 2004.

ACC sources said they obtained many an essential document from Singapore following a legal assistance request under the UN Convention against Corruption during the past military backed interim government in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office.

Last week, Finance Minister A M A Muhith said that Bangladesh would enact a new law to recover siphoned off money as officials earlier estimated that millions of dollars were siphoned off the country during the past one decade.

-PTI

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