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ACC files charges against Khaleda`s son for money laundering

Last Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009 - 16:26

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s top anti-graft body has filed a chargesheet against ex-premier Khaleda Zia`s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko for allegedly siphoning off 28.84 lakh
Singaporean dollars and USD 9.32 lakh out of the country.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday pressed money-laundering charges against Koko, eight months after it filed the case of siphoning out a huge amount of money to hide his illegal sources of income.

The commission also named a former minister’s son as co-accused in the charge sheet submitted to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate`s Court in Dhaka by an ACC official who investigated the case.

This was the first investigation carried out by ACC, teaming up with overseas authorities at the United States and Britain, who earlier extended hands to Bangladesh in recovering an estimated USD 200 million stashed by Koko and several other high-profile suspects in Singapore banks.

Singaporean authorities in December last year froze assets worth USD 1.6 million associated with a company Koko established in 2004.

Koko, who all through maintained a low profile, was earlier arrested under emergency power rules by the past military-backed interim government. He was released on parole for treatment abroad before the general elections in December.

He had since then been reportedly staying in Bangkok. ACC sources said they obtained many essential documents from Singapore following a legal assistance request under the UN Convention against Corruption during the interim government in collaboration with the Attorney General`s Office.

According to the charge sheet, Koko had underhand dealings with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd and German telecom giant Siemens for setting up New Mooring Container Terminal in southeastern port city Chittagong to supply and install equipment for the state-owned Teletalk mobile phone operator. He also took money from a few other individuals.

The case came four months after the graft body pressed a fresh charge against his mother Khaleda Zia, chief of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), his elder brother, staying in London and four others for embezzling over Taka 2.10 crore for an orphanage trust, "which exists only in papers".

Officials said, if found guilty, Koko might be sentenced to seven years in jail as the case filed under Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009, that accuses him of laundering funds he had received as bribe while Zia was the prime minister during 2001-2006 tenure.

Koko and his elder brother Tareq Rahman were arrested along with their mother by the interim government under emergency rules as it launched a massive anti-graft campaign after installation with crucial military support following the promulgation of the state of emergency.

Most of the graft cases against Zia family members and other high-profile politicians including ruling Awami League, were stayed by the High Court as their legality were challenged by the accused.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, November 13, 2009 - 16:26
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