HC orders 7-year jail term for BNP leader Tarique in money laundering case

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Dhaka, July 21: The High Court (HC) found guilty of BNP senior vice president and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman in a money laundering case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The HC sentenced him for seven years imprisonment and also fined him Tk 20 crore.

The bench of justices M Enayetur Rahim and Amir Hossain passed the order on Thursday on an appeal by the ACC.

The court however, sentenced Giasuddin-Al-Mamun, his closest business ally to seven years in jail and fined him Tk40 crore.

In November 2013, a Dhaka court acquitted Tarique, the elder son of BNP chief Khaleda Zia, over charges brought against him for siphoning off Tk 204.1 million to Singapore between 2003 and 2007.

Mamun also challenged the verdict. The High Court on Thursday upheld his prison term but commuted the financial penalty to Tk 200 million. ‘It’s a financial crime’

The trial court’s verdict said that Tarique did not deny spending that money, which he had stated in his wealth statement submitted to the ACC in 2007.

It said that the charges of money laundering against him have not been proven.

On Thursday, the HC overturned the verdict and observed it as ‘financial crime.’

It said that money laundering hinders sustainable economic development of the country.

“It’s time to stop such crimes,” the High Court said in its verdict.

Tarique’s counsel Mahbubuddin Khokon said that they were taken aback by the verdict. “We are astonished and shocked.”

He said that Tarique’s associate Mamun will appeal against the decision.

The matter of challenging the verdict of Tarique will be decided later since he is abroad, said another defence counsel Md Jalaluddin.

“We will decide on the next step after consulting Tarique,” he said.

ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan, however, said that Tarique has to surrender before filing an appeal. “He has to turn himself in first. He will get 30 days to challenge the verdict.”

In his reaction over the verdict, Khan said that it once again endorsed that no one is above the law.

“The court said that it’s now time to rethink these matters as power and money laundering is linked.”

Tarique, who faces trial for several charges, was arrested on Mar 7, 2007, during the state of emergency.

In September next year, after securing a bail from the Supreme Court, Tarique went to the UK citing medical reasons.

He has been in London ever since, even attending some BNP events in the city.