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The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Tuesday asked the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) to immediately remove Hussain Lawai from his post as PSX chairman, media sources reported.
The SECP earlier issued a letter to PSX CEO Richard Morin stating that it has come to its notice that Lawai has been arrested in an ongoing investigation into money laundering and that in the “interest of the general public and the capital markets”, he be removed from his post.
Subsequently, a judicial magistrate in Karachi had remanded him in FIA custody till July 11.
The agency has accused him of facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited accounts, which were subsequently transferred to different accounts, including that of PPP Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s company — Zardari Group — which is shown to have received Rs15 million. He has allegedly been fraudulently fulfilling the codal formalities i.e. obtaining signatures”.
The FIR stated that the bankers accused in the case “opened fake/forged accounts
The commission has asked PSX for Lawai’s removal from the post of chairman and, as per disciplinary rules, the appointment of a new chairman.
Lawai was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on July 6 on money laundering charges after the FIA registered a case in Karachi last week over a mega money-laundering scandal involving Rs35 billion under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947— said to implicate politicians, businessmen and bankers.
Lawai’s take on this!
In a brief chat with media personnel earlier, Lawai had maintained his innocence and said he would ask for relief from the court on account of his medical condition. “I have nothing to do with this case. Nothing has been recovered from me,” he said.
“This case is about money laundering: those who did this [launder money] are abroad, and I have been accused.”
“I am a heart patient. I will ask the court to give me medical relief,” he added.
When asked if he had been arrested due to his rumored friendship with Zardari, Lawai said: “I do not know if I have been arrested because of Asif Ali Zardari or something else. Only time will tell why I am being targeted.”