Khaleda Zia`s fugitive son acquitted of money laundering
A Bangladeshi court today acquitted him of money laundering amid heightened political tensions in the country ahead of general elections.
Dhaka: In a relief for ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia`s "fugitive" eldest son, a Bangladeshi court today acquitted him of money laundering amid heightened political tensions in the country ahead of general elections.
"He (Tarique Rahman) has been acquitted of the money laundering charge," pronounced Judge Mohammad Motahar Hossain of the Special Judge Court-3 of Dhaka at the packed courtroom after trying him in absentia.
The judge said Rahman, 45, was acquitted as he declared the disputed amount of USD 50,000 in his wealth statement earlier.
The court, however, sentenced to seven years of imprisonment Rahman`s friend and business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun and fined him Taka 40 crore in the same case as charges of taking bribes and siphoning off the money were proved.
Rahman, the Senior Vice Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was defended by state-appointed counsels under law for fugitive accused.
The duo was accused of siphoning off Taka 20.41 crore to Singapore between 2003 and 2007 while the BNP-led four-party righting alliance government was in power while they were charged under the Money Laundering Act and indicted in August last year after pre-trial hearings.
Pro-BNP lawyers at the court complex celebrated the judgement, staging a brief "victory march" around the court complex.
The main opposition party earlier feared that Rahman could be convicted in a "false case" describing him a victim of political vengeance.
Lawyers of the ruling Awami League accused the government prosecutors of mishandling the case in a deliberate manner to ensure Rahman`s acquittal in exchange of bribes and chased some of them out of the court complex, prompting police to whisk them to safety.