Congratulations PTI

PTI did not sweep the polls but do not lose heart.The rise of PTI is not short of phenomenal. The charisma of Imran Khan and the conviction of common people to change their destinies historically chained to family loyalties have made sure PTI comes out as a formidable third political force in the country.

The people of KP, who have endured the most suffering over the last three decades, have shown the most political awareness and ensured PTI sweeps the province. This is a great opportunity for PTI to show good governance and become an example for the rest of the country. They can be a formidable opposition in the centre and ensure government policies are aligned to the welfare of the people.

Congratulaions are in order for Nawaz Sharif and his PML for winning the overall polls although the level of rigging seen in Lahore and other cities of Punjab is creating serious doubts as to the transparency of the polls.

Nawaz Sharif has an opportunity to make things right, put the country to the right path and most importantly listen to what people are saying and listen to PTI. Agreed, a coalition with PTI is unlikely but they must listen to what the young generation is saying. Above all, Nawaz Sharif must resist tendencies to usurp and centralise power. He must let the judiciary and press function independently  to ensure check and balance. He must ensure the tone at the top is correct in terms of zero tolerance to corruption, nepotism and ensure good goverance.

Let’s hope for a better, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.

Post script

The above results require a major qualification as to the transparency and fairness of these elections which have been marred by visible rigging and electoral fraud in a number of widely known cases. Read it below.

https://hankypanky.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/election-2013-karachi-suffers-again/

Election 2013: Karachi suffers again

Hopes are hopes and reality is sometimes cruel. 2013 elections have seen massive electoral fraud in Karachi again. People were afraid to come out and polling did not start until late in the afternoon and still vote casted for in hundreds of thousands… the only logical explanation can be the massive batch bolloting fraud and nothing else.

People claiming to be representing urban Sindh were so nervous that they managed to push the balloting time to late afternoon to ensure doctoring of results.

Read the following blog written on November 29, 2012 raising these fears which have materialised on 11th May.

http://united4justice.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/karachi-election-fraud-issue/

The same blogger has recounted the first hand experience of rigging in Karachi in below.

http://united4justice.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/pakistan-2013-elections-mqm-terrorism-as-usual-no-fair-elections-in-karachi/

The story of NA-250

The polling area for this constituency includes affluent neighbourhoods of DHA. Traditionally these people do not vote and their vote is casted by the powers to be. This time around however they came out in droves to support PTI and found out that their electoral right was being snatched away from them in broad daylight.

Here is the experience of the Deputy Editor of the Dawn Newspaper.

http://dawn.com/2013/05/11/na-250-the-sham/

However, people have spoken and the people of urban Sindh and particularly Karachi are for the first time unafraid of the thugs. The change is coming and although it is slow, it is inevitable.

Evidence of rigging in Karachi

http://www.awaztoday.com/News-Talk-Shows/37621/Pakistan-Elections-2013-MQM-Rigging-NA251-Karachi.aspx

http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?183799-Election-Rigging-in-Karachi-Video-Footage

http://tribune.com.pk/story/547908/you-can-rig-all-you-want-karachi-will-not-take-your-rubbish/

Post Script

It appears PPPP and PML N are also involved in massive rigging. Evidence popping up all over the internet.

Clear rigging in at least 49 polling stations across the country as turnout was more than 100%.

http://dawn.com/2013/05/14/rigging-49-polling-stations-received-over-100pc-turnout-across-pakistan/

In other consitituencies, riggers were clever and ensured the turnout stayed less than 100%.  If the election commission is any independent and would like the results to be accepted by all, then it should look at verifying the count for all polling stations where turnout was more than 80%. It should catch most poll rigging hopefully.

 

Update

The leader of the thugs has threatened the peaceful protestors against the sham elections in Karachi in a very poisonous, divisive and mafia-like speech. All media networks are now completely silent and not speaking about the rigging at all. There is visible fear in the posture of media anchors and commentators after this speech. This is the politics of terror and fear at its worst. It is like Lord Voldemort… oops. … you cannot name him but everyone knows who this thug is.

Election 2013: Remember 12th May tomorrow

Remember 12th May tomorrow

Whatever the circumstances, the human nature is always hopeful and so we are hopeful that the population will come out in droves and vote with the conscience and not with emotional attachment to leaders who have never delivered in the past and who in fact are a great hindrance to the progress of the great country of ours – Pakistan.

When you vote tomorrow, please remember to reject the corrupt, the tried and tested, the mock faithfuls, the so called open minded when they are the most closed minded and above all the extortionists, the real terrorists, the cannibals.

Vote for the untried and untested. This is the best hope we have…. And perhaps the most provident.

In the midst of all, please do not forget 12th May, it is only fitting that the elections are taking place in May only a day ahead of 12th May which is one of the darkest chapters in country’s history when a city was locked down by darkness and torch bearers of confrontation and regression.

No one should forget 12th May, 2007, when a country’s Chief Justice was denied entry to Karachi. When people were killed in cold blood, when media was terrorised and which to this day is crying for justice.

The three main parties claiming to represent the voice of liberals played the game of blood against each other’s workers on that day.

You can search for yourself to confirm what happened that day but you may find some links at the end of the article as well.

The supporters of this crime and many more over the course of the last fifty decades (including succession of East Pakistan and other debacles) and their cohorts should be utterly rejected if the people require a change for the better, for a politics without violence where differing opinions are respected and where people are respected for what they bring to the table and welcomed.

Karachi is a cosmopolitan city, attracting people from all ethnicitiy and backgrounds like any mega-city in the world and will remain so. It is up to the people to come out in their droves and reject the politics of fear, intimidation, extortion and above all false victimization. People remaining in power for over two decades cannot claim victimization.. not any more.

Remember, it is very difficult to rig an election, where an overwhelming majority of people vote for a new face, a change. Vote for Imran Khan, he is not a perfect man but he has never been tried. And  only a fool will try the same thing, the same people again and again which has failed before. It has not worked in the past and will not work in the future.

Vote for your future generations… vote for hope.

Good luck Pakistan.

Links (remember and reflect before you vote!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Karachi_riots

http://www.opinion-maker.org/2013/04/pakistan-12th-may-a-message-loud-and-clear/

http://www.chowrangi.pk/12-may-2007-a-black-day-in-history-of-pakistan.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8693681.stm

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/world/asia/13iht-pakistan.5.5692979.html?_r=0

http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/karachi-gun-battles-leads-to-deadly-chaos-1.352721#.UY0Z8cUUOqY

Crooks proves himself yet again!!!

The transmission of Geo News has been blocked overnight in various parts of country after it aired news regarding hurling of shoes at President Zardari during his party address in Birmingham, Geo News reported cable operators sources as saying.

Meanwhile, many offices of cable operators in Karachi have been set ablaze by angry activists of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Some of PPP’s leaders and government officials have issued threats and warnings to cable operators across country against continuation of Geo News transmission, pressurizing them to shut Geo News transmission but most cable operators refused to do so, sources said.

However, a private company namely World Call and another one by the name KMPC blocked Geo News signals as late as 2am in morning.

Newspapers’ vendors have been robbed of copies of Jang and Thenews newspapers upon direction of President Asif Ali Zardari and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira from London, besides, the PPP workers were accompanied by police officials in posing threats to cable operators and hawkers, sources told media.

Following the blockage, a large number of people registered a massive protest against closure of Geo News transmission across country and rampage, arson and riots triggered by workers of PPP, sources said.

Meanwhile, many a Geo News’ workers have decided to register a protest against government in reaction against blockage of Geo News transmission over keeping people updated with facts and truths.

People and Geo News employees have resolved staging a massive string of demonstrations against stoppage of Geo News transmission and burning of Jang and Thenews newspapers by PPP workers, sources said.

The Demos will be staged outside President House, Prime Minister House, in front of Oman Embassy in Islamabad, outside CM, Governor Houses, Press Clubs and offices of cable operators all over country.

Most copies of Jang and Thenews newspapers have been burnt to ashes after robbing them of hawkers at gunpoint in Karachi.

A meeting of journalists, and Geo News employees has been convened in this connection, which will decide further course of action over this issue, journalists told Geo News.

People were of the view that Geo/Jang Group is being penalized over revealing of facts and speaking the truth. They said the ruling elite is angry over reporting of news regarding controversial visit of president Zardari in face of worst floods in country.

President was not only being criticized in country but international media were also grilling him due to massive human crisis in country while he refused to call off his UK visit.

Source: http://www.geo.tv/8-8-2010/69658.htm

Stress Release

If you are stressed and annoyed with how our President is conducting himself then some stress release is not out of the way…

here you go enjoy…

http://decentsms.com/zardari.html

PM’s wife settles corruption case.. but how.. not details released

Here is another example of extreme corruption and nepotism.  Read and enjoy or rather pity the nation… This country deserves better. If Yousuf Raza Gilani and his wife are clean then all the details of so-call ‘setttlement’ must be made public in full.

An accountability court disposed of on Friday two corruption references against the wife of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and five other people after the National Accountability Bureau which had filed them in 2000 informed the court that the matter had been settled and charges withdrawn.

Fouzia Yousuf Gilani, Syeda Samina Abrar, Anwar Nasreen, Ziaur Rehman, Khalid Hussain and Nasreen Munawar Chaudhry were accused of obtaining two loans from the Agricultural Development Bank for their companies in the late 1980s and not returning the money.

NAB’s prosecutor general filed an application in the court stating that the matter had been settled and the accused had entered into an agreement with the bank.

He said the prosecution had decided to withdraw the charges.

According to the prosecution, the accused who were directors of the Pakistan Green Fertiliser had obtained a loan of Rs71.163 million from the ADBP in November 1987 and not returned the amount after which the National Accountability Bureau had filed a reference against them.

The second reference pertained to a loan of Rs100 million taken from the bank in July 1989 for the Multan Edible Oil Extraction company. The court had dismissed applications for acquittal in July.

The managing director of the firms, Munawar Hussain Sindhu, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on March 10, 2001, while Ms Gilani and others were awarded three-year terms in absentia for failing to appear before the court.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/cases-against-pms-wife-withdrawn-by-nab-599

Tainted banker rewarded – Zardari’s cesspool continues to take shape

Salim Raza, the banker who helped arrange President Zardari have unverified bank accounts at Citibank (facilitated money laundering) to facilitate SGS Cotecna money laundering scam is now nominated by Zardari to be the State Bank of Pakistan’s Governor replacing Shamshad Akhtar.

Of course Zardari does not forgets his friends and benefactors…… On the other hand his government has not even begin the murder investigation of Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated this month last year. Conflicting stories have surfaced with PPP leadership and Benazir’s close confidants giving conflicting accounts of what happened on that fateful day of 27 Dec 2007.

However, let’s pull back to the topic of this blog… Yes the premier banker of Pakistan (our Alan Greenspan) is to be a past money laundering facilitator as noted by the US Senate.

Read the story and enjoy or be saddened whatever suits your view!!!

=======================================================

In addition to Mr. Shaukat Aziz, current Prime Minister of Pakistan, numerous former Citibankers occupy highly influential positions in the government and the private sector in Pakistan.

Citibank is one of the largest banks, and operates one of the largest private banks in the US and globally. Of the 40 private banks reviewed by the Federal Reserve during its industry wide examination of private banking in the 1990s, only one — Citibank — was reviewed in detail by Federal Reserve examiners three years in a row. It is a private bank that has struggled with a wide range of anti-money laundering issues. Although Citibank, under Shaukat Aziz’s leadership (from May 1997 to October 1999) and his successors’ has done much to tighten controls, it was beset by numerous scandals during the 1990s.

A 1999 US Congress investigation (exact reference given at end) into Citibank, provides a fascinating inside look at how Citibank helped launder the ill-gotten gains of four high profile corrupt figures: Raul Salinas, brother of the former president of Mexico, Carlos Salinas, Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan (reproduced below), El Hadj Omar Bongo, the elected president of Gabon since 1967, and Mohammed, Ibrahim, and Abba Sani Abacha, three sons of General Sani Abacha, who was the military leader of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998.

Of the four case histories provided in the Report, the following is a complete excerpt of the Case History for Asif Zardari. The report also provides photocopies of signed documents, banks records, etc. (listed below, at the end).

[Beginning of Excerpt]
(2) Asif Ali Zardari Case History

The Facts
The second case history involves Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Ms. Bhutto was elected Prime Minister in 1988, dismissed by the President of Pakistan in August 1990 for alleged corruption and inability to maintain law and order, elected Prime Minister again in October 1993, and dismissed by the President again in November 1996. At various times, Mr. Zardari served as Senator, Environment Minister and Minister for Investment in the Bhutto government. In between the two Bhutto administrations, he was incarcerated in 1990 and 1991 on charges of corruption; the charges were eventually dropped. During Ms. Bhutto’s second term there were increasing allegations of corruption in her government, and a major target of those allegations was Mr. Zardari. It has been reported that the government of Pakistan claims that Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Zardari stole over $1 billion from the country.

During the period 1994 to 1997, Citibank opened and maintained three private bank accounts in Switzerland and a consumer account in Dubai for three corporations under Mr. Zardari’s control. There are allegations that some of these accounts were used to disguise $10 million in kickbacks for a gold importing contract to Pakistan.

Structure of Private Bank Relationship. Mr. Zardari’s relationship with Citibank began in October 1994, through the services of Kamran Amouzegar, a private banker at Citibank private bank in Switzerland, and Jens Schlegelmilch, a Swiss lawyer who was the Bhutto family’s attorney in Europe and close personal friend for more than 20 years. According to Citibank, Mr. Schlegelmilch represented to Mr. Amouzegar that he was working for the Dubai royal family and he wanted to open some accounts at the Citibank branch office in Dubai. Mr. Schlegelmilch had a Dubai residency permit and a visa signed by a member of the Dubai royal family. Mr. Amouzegar agreed to introduce Mr. Schlegelmilch to a banker in the Citibank branch office in Dubai.

According to Citicorp, Mr. Schlegelmilch told the Citibank Dubai banker that he wanted to open an account in the name of M.S. Capricorn Trading, a British Virgin Island PIC. The stated purpose of the account was to receive money and transfer it to Switzerland. The account was opened in early October 1994.

According to Citibank, Mr. Schlegelmilch informed the Dubai banker that he would serve as the representative of the account and the signatory on the account. Under Dubai law, a bank is not required to know an account’s beneficial owner, only the signatory. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that Mr. Schlegelmilch did not reveal to the Dubai banker that Mr. Zardari was the beneficial owner of the PIC [Private Investment Company: an offshore company often used to launder money], and the account manager never asked him the identity of the beneficial owner of the account. Instead, according to Citibank, she assumed the beneficial owner of the account was the member of the royal family who had signed Mr. Schlegelmilch’s visa. According to Citibank, the account manager actually performed some due diligence on the royal family member whom she believed to be the beneficial owner of the account.

Shortly after opening the account in Dubai, Mr. Schlegelmilch signed a standard referral agreement with Citibank Switzerland private bank guaranteeing him 20% of the first three years of client net revenues earned by the bank from each client he referred to the private bank.

On February 27, 1995, Mr. Schlegelmilch, working with Mr. Amouzegar, opened three accounts at the Citibank Switzerland private bank. The accounts were opened in the name of M.S. Capricorn Trading, which already had an account at Citibank’s Dubai branch, as well as Marvel and Bomer Finance, two other British Virgin Island PICs established by Mr. Schlegelmilch, according to Citibank. Each private bank account listed Mr. Schlegelmilch as the account contact and signatory. Citibank informed the Subcommittee that the Swiss Form A, a government-required beneficial owner identification form, identified Mr. Zardari as the beneficial owner of each PIC.

Lack of Due Diligence. The decision to allow Mr. Schlegelmilch to open the three accounts on behalf of Mr. Zardari, according to Citibank, involved officials at the highest levels of the private bank. The officials were: (a) Mr. Amouzegar, the private banker; (b) Deepak Sharma, then head of private bank operations in Pakistan; (c) Phillipe Holderbeke, then head of private bank operations in Switzerland (who became head of the Europe, Middle East, Africa Division in February 1996); (d) Salim Raza, then head of the EMEA Division of the private bank; and (e) Hubertus Rukavina, then head of the Citibank private bank. Mr. Rukavina told the Subcommittee staff that when he was asked about opening the Zardari accounts, he did not make the decision to open them, but rather directed that the matter be discussed with Mr. Sharma. According to Mr. Rukavina, he never heard whether the accounts were ultimately opened. Mr. Rukavina left the private bank in 1996 and left Citibank in 1999.

Citibank informed the Subcommittee staff that the private bank was aware of the allegations of corruption against Mr. Zardari at the time it opened the accounts in Switzerland. However, Citibank reasoned that if the charges for which Mr. Zardari had been incarcerated for two years had any merit, they would not have been dropped. Bank officials also believed that the family wealth of Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Zardari was large enough to support a large private bank account, even though Citibank was not able to specify what actions were taken to verify the amount and source of their wealth. Citibank said that bank officials were also aware of the M.S. Capricorn Trading account in Dubai, and they were comforted by the fact that there had been no problems with that account. According to Citibank, Mr. Amouzegar informed his superiors that Mr. Zardari was the beneficial owner of the Capricorn account in Dubai when they were considering the request to open the accounts in Switzerland. Inexplicably, however, the Dubai account manager was apparently still operating under the assumption that the beneficial owner of the Dubai Capricorn account was a member of the Dubai royal family. Subcommittee staff have been unable to determine whether Citibank officials were unaware of or inattentive to the serious inconsistency between Citibank Switzerland and Citibank Dubai with respect to the Capricorn Trading account. Citibank also informed the Subcommittee staff that bank officials had some concerns that if they turned down the accounts, their actions may have implications for the corporation’s operations in Pakistan; however, they said they never received any threats on that issue.

Citibank told the Subcommittee staff the private bank decided to allow Mr. Schlegelmilch to open the three accounts for Mr. Zardari on the condition that the private bank would not be the primary accounts for Mr. Zardari’s assets and the accounts would function as passive investment accounts. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that Mr. Holderbeke signed a memo delineating the restrictions placed on the accounts, including a $40 million aggregate limit on the size of the three accounts, and transaction restrictions requiring the accounts to function as passive, stable investments, without multiple transactions or funding pass-throughs. None of the Citibank personnel interviewed by Subcommittee staff could identify any other private bank account with these types of restrictions. Other private banks interviewed by the Subcommittee staff were asked if they had ever accepted a client on the condition that certain restrictions be imposed on the account. The banks all said they had not. One bank representative explained that if the bank felt that it needed to place restrictions on the client’s account, it didn’t want that type of client. The existence of the restrictions are in themselves proof of the private bank’s awareness of Mr. Zardari’s poor reputation and concerns regarding the sources of his wealth.

Movement of Funds. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that, once opened, only three deposits were made into the M.S. Capricorn Trading account in Dubai. Two deposits, totaling $10 million were made into the account almost immediately after it was opened. Citibank records show that one $5 million deposit was made on October 5,1994, and another was made on October 6, 1994. The source of both deposits was A.R.Y. International Exchange, a company owned by Abdul Razzak Yaqub [since then, the owner of several ARY television channels that, incidentally, have been providing favorable coverage of Ms. Bhutto’s recent political activities], a Pakistani gold bullion trader living in Dubai.

According to the New York Times, in December 1994, the Bhutto government awarded Mr. Razzak an exclusive gold import license. In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Razzak acknowledged that he had used the exclusive license to import more than $500 million worth of gold into Pakistan. Mr. Razzak denies, however, making any payments to Mr. Zardari. Citibank could not explain the two $5 million payments. Ms. Bhutto told the Subcommittee staff that since A.R.Y. International Exchange is a foreign exchange business, the payments did not necessarily come from Mr. Razzak, but could have come from a third party who was merely making use of A.R.Y.’s exchange services. The staff invited Ms. Bhutto to provide additional information on the M.S. Capricorn Trading accounts, but she has not yet done so.

On February 25, 1995, a third deposit of $8 million was made into the Dubai M.S. Capricorn Trading account. Records show that the payment was made through American Express, with the originator of the account listed as “Morgan NYC.” Citibank indicated it does not know who Morgan NYC is, nor does it know the source of the $8 million.

All of the funds in the Dubai account of M.S. Capricorn Trading were moved to the Swiss accounts in the Spring of 1995. On March 6, 1995, $8.1 million was transferred; and on May 5, 1995, another $10.2 million was transferred. Both transfers involved U.S. dollars and were routed through Citibank’s New York offices. Citibank informed the Subcommittee staff that M.S. Capricorn Trading closed its Dubai account shortly after the last transfer was completed.

Citibank has indicated that significant amounts of other funds were also deposited into the Swiss accounts. As described below, the $40 million cap was reached, and millions of additional dollars also passed through those accounts. However, Swiss bank secrecy law has prevented the Subcommittee from obtaining the details on the transactions in the Zardari accounts.

Account Monitoring. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that, in 1996, the Swiss office of the private bank conducted a number of reviews of the Zardari Swiss accounts, finally deciding in October to close them.

The first review was allegedly in early 1996, triggered by increasing publicity about allegations of corruption against Mr. Zardari. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that Messrs. Holderbeke, [Salim] Raza, Sharma and Amouzegar participated in the review, and apparently concluded that the allegations were politically motivated and that the accounts should remain open. The Subcommittee staff was told that the review did not include looking at the accounts’ transaction activity.

In March or April, 1996, Mr. Amouzegar asked that the overall limit on the Zardari accounts be increased from $40 million to $60 million, apparently because the accounts had reached the previously imposed limit of $40 million. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that Mr. Holderbeke considered the request, but declined to increase the $40 million limit.

In June, press reports in the United Kingdom that Mr. Zardari had purchased real estate in London triggered still another review of the Zardari accounts. Citibank private bank told the Subcommittee staff that its Swiss office internally discussed the source of the funds for the property purchase. Mr. Amouzegar and Mr. [Salim] Raza then met with Mr. Schlegelmilch, who allegedly informed them that funds had been deposited into the Citibank accounts, transferred to another PIC account outside of Citibank and used to purchase the property. Mr. Schlegelmilch allegedly indicated the funds had come from the sale of some sugar mills and were legitimate. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff it is not sure if anyone at the private bank attempted to validate the information about the sale of the sugar mills. In addition, even though this account activity violated the condition imposed by Citibank that the accounts were not to be used as a pass through for funds, the accounts were kept open.

Closing the Accounts. In July 1996, after Mr. Amouzegar left the private bank to open his own company, another private banker, Cedric Grant, took over management of the Zardari accounts. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that Mr. Grant began to review the Zardari accounts about one month later to familiarize himself with them. He also reviewed the transactions that had taken place within the accounts.

In September and October 1996, press accounts in Pakistan repeatedly raised questions about corruption by Mr. Zardari and Ms. Bhutto, as Ms. Bhutto’s re-election campaign increased its activities prior to a February election date. In September, Ms. Bhutto’s only surviving brother, Murtaza Bhutto, was assassinated, and Ms. Bhutto’s mother accused Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Zardari of masterminding the murder, because the brother had been leading opposition to Ms. Bhutto.

In October, Mr. Grant completed his review of the Zardari accounts and provided a written analysis to Messrs. Holderbeke, Sharma and [Salim] Raza, according to Citibank. Mr. Grant had found numerous violations of the account restrictions imposed by Citibank, including multiple transactions and funding pass-throughs. Citibank told the Subcommittee staff that the accounts had functioned more as checking accounts than passive investment accounts, directly contrary to the private bank’s restrictions. Apparently, well over $40 million had flowed through the accounts, though Subcommittee staff were unable to ascertain the actual amount because Swiss bank secrecy law prohibits Citibank from sharing that information with the Subcommittee. Citibank indicated that Mr. Amouzegar had either ignored or did not pay attention to the account activity. Mr. Grant recommended closing the accounts, and they were closed by January 1997.

[Note: In May 1997, Mr. Shaukat Aziz was transferred at Citibank’s New York headquarters, from his position as head of credit card operations to head of private banking. In November 1996, Mr. Farooq Laghari had dismissed the government of Ms. Benazir Bhutto-Zardari; and in February 1997, Mr. Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister.]

Legal Proceedings. On September 8, 1997, the Swiss government issued orders freezing the Zardari and Bhutto accounts at Citibank and three other banks in Switzerland at the request of the Pakistani government. Since Citibank had closed its Zardari accounts in January 1997, it took no action nor did it make any effort to inform U.S. authorities of the accounts until late November 1997. Citibank contacted the Federal Reserve and OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the banking supervision arm of the US Department of Treasury] about the Zardari accounts in late November, in anticipation of a New York Times article that eventually ran in January 1998, alleging that Mr. Zardari had accepted bribes, and that he held Citibank accounts in Dubai and Switzerland. On December 8 and 11, 1997, Citibank briefed the OCC and the Federal Reserve, respectively, about the accounts and the steps it had taken as a result of the Zardari matter. These steps included: closing all of the accounts that had been referred by Mr. Schlegelmilch to the private bank and terminating his referral agreement; reviewing all of the accounts opened in the Dubai office; and tightening up account opening procedures in Dubai, including requiring the Dubai office to identify the beneficial owner of all Dubai accounts. Citibank did not identify any changes made or planned for the Swiss office, even though the majority of the activity with respect to the Zardari accounts had taken place in Switzerland.

On December 5, 1997, Citibank prepared a Suspicious Activity Report on the Zardari accounts and filed it with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the U.S. Department of Treasury. The filing was made fourteen months after its decision to close the Zardari accounts; thirteen months after Mr. Zardari was arrested a second time for corruption in November 1996; and nearly two months after the Swiss government had ordered four Swiss banks (including Citibank Switzerland) to freeze all Zardari accounts.

In June 1998, Switzerland indicted Mr. Schlegelmilch and two Swiss businessmen, the former senior executive vice president of SGS and the managing director of Cotecna, for money laundering in connection with kickbacks paid by the Swiss companies for the award of a government contract by Pakistan. In July 1998, Mr. Zardari was indicted for violation of Swiss money laundering law in connection with the same incident. Ms. Bhutto was indicted in Switzerland for the same offense in August 1998. A trial on the charges is expected.

In October 1998, Pakistan indicted Mr. Zardari and Ms. Bhutto for accepting kickbacks from the two Swiss companies in exchange for the award of a government contract. On April 15, 1999, after an 18-month trial, Pakistan’s Lahore High Court convicted Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Zardari of accepting the kickbacks and sentenced them to 5 years in prison, fined them $8.6 million and disqualified them from holding public office. Ms. Bhutto, who now lives in London, denounced the decision. Mr. Zardari remains in jail. Additional criminal charges are pending against both in Pakistani courts.

On December 11, 1997, Citicorp’s Chairman John Reed wrote the following to the Board of Directors:

“We have another issue with the husband of Ex-Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan. I do not yet understand the facts but I am inclined to think that we made a mistake. More reason than ever to rework our Private Bank.”

Mr. Reed told the Subcommittee staff that it was the combination of the Salinas and Zardari accounts that made him charge Mr. [Shaukat] Aziz [currently, Prime Minister of Pakistan], the new private bank head, with taking a hard look at the bank’s public figure policy and public figure accounts.

The Issues
The Zardari case history raises issues involving due diligence, secrecy and public figure accounts. The Zardari case history begins with the Citibank Dubai branch’s failure to identify the true beneficial owner of the M.S. Capricorn Trading account. As a result, the account officer in Dubai performed due diligence on an individual who had no relationship to the account being opened. In Switzerland, Citibank officials opened three private bank accounts despite evidence of impropriety on the part of Mr. Zardari. In an interview with Subcommittee staff, Citigroup Co-Chair John Reed informed the Subcommittee staff that he had been advised by Citibank officials in preparation for a trip to Pakistan in February 1994, that there were troubling accusations concerning corruption surrounding Mr. Zardari, that he should stay away from him, and that he was not a man with whom the bank wanted to be associated. Yet one year later, the private bank opened three accounts for Mr. Zardari in Switzerland. Mr. Reed told the Subcommittee staff that when he learned of the Zardari accounts he thought the account officer must have been “an idiot.”

Citibank has been unable to confirm that bank employees verified that Mr. Zardari had a level of wealth sufficient to support the size of the accounts that he was opening. In addition, the Swiss private banker took no action to validate the legitimacy of the source of the funds that were deposited into the account. For example, there was no effort made to verify the claims that some of the funds derived from the sale of sugar mills.

Citibank also performed no due diligence on the client owned and managed PICs that were the named accountholders. Because the PICs were client-created, the bank’s failure to perform due diligence on the PICs meant that it had no knowledge of the activities, assets or entities involved with the corporations. One of the PICs, Bomer Finance, has been determined to have been a repository for kickbacks paid to Mr. Zardari, and those kickbacks tainted funds deposited at the Geneva branch of Union Bank of Switzerland. Documentation has not been made available to determine whether Bomer Finance also used its Citibank account for illicit funds.

Another due diligence lapse was the private bank’s failure to monitor the Zardari accounts to ensure that the account restrictions imposed on them were being followed. When officials were presented with evidence in 1996 that the restrictions were being violated, they nevertheless allowed the accounts to continue.

The Zardari accounts in Switzerland were opened one day before Raul Salinas was arrested. The account was repeatedly reviewed in 1996, after the Salinas scandal became public. Yet there is no evidence that anyone in the private bank had been sensitized to the problems associated with handling an account of a person suspected of corruption.

The Zardari example also demonstrates the practical consequences of secrecy in private banking. Citibank claims that its decisionmaking in the Zardari matter cannot be fully explained or documented, since all Citibank officials are subject to Swiss secrecy laws prohibiting discussion of client-specific information. In light of the fact that U.S. banks are supposed to oversee their foreign branches and enforce U.S. law, including anti-money laundering requirements, this inability to produce documentation related to a troubling case again highlights the problems with U.S. banks choosing to operate in secrecy jurisdictions.

Pattern of Poor Account Management. The Zardari case history took place during a series of critical internal and federal audits between 1992 and 1997 of the Swiss office which, during most of that time, served as the headquarters of the private bank. The shortcomings identified in the audits included policies, procedures, and problems that affected the management of the Zardari accounts. They included:

* failure of the “corporate culture” in the Swiss office to foster ” ‘a climate of integrity, ethical conduct and prudent risk taking’ by U.S. standards”;

* inadequate due diligence;

* “less than acceptable internal controls”;

* lack of oversight and control of third party referral agents such as Schlegelmilch; and

* inadequate monitoring of accounts;

all of which resulted in “unacceptable” internal audit ratings. In December 1995, the Swiss office received the lowest audit score received by any office in the private bank during the 1990s. These audit scores indicate the office’s poor handling of the Zardari accounts was part of an ongoing pattern of poor account management.

[End of excerpt]

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Source: MINORITY STAFF REPORT FOR PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS HEARING ON PRIVATE BANKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING: A CASE STUDY OF OPPORTUNITIES AND VULNERABILITIES, November 9, 1999
http://www.senate.gov/~gov_affairs/110999_report.htm

The Report features as an annex toS. Hrg. 106-248
PRIVATE BANKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING: A CASE STUDY OF OPPORTUNITIES AND VULNERABILITIES, Hearings before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Sixth Congress, First Session, November 9 and 10, 1999.
This xiv+1114 pages report is available at:
http://www.gpo.gov/congress/senate/senate12sh106.html
as TEXT [424KB] and as PDF [30MB] files

It provides (on page numbers indicated) the following:
Documents relating to Asif Ali Zardari:

a. Swiss Form A identifying Asif Ali Zardari as the beneficial owner of the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in the Citibank Private Bank in Switzerland [600]…………………………………. 445 [Signed by “Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal House, Karachi (Pak)”]

b. Wire transfer records documenting transfers of $18 million into Mr. Zardari’s Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Dubai and transfers of $18.3 million out of the Dubai account into the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank Private Bank in Switzerland ……………………………………… 446

10/5/94 transfer of $5 million from A.R.Y. International Exchange into the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in
Citibank in Dubai [X6903-4];

10/6/94 transfer of $5 million from A.R.Y. International Exchange into the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank in Dubai [X6900-2];

2/24/95 transfer of $8 million from Morgan NYC into the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank in Dubai;

3/6/95 transfer of $8.1 million from the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank in Dubai into the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank Private Bank in Switzerland;

5/3/95 transfer of $10.2 million from the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank in Dubai into the Capricorn Trading S.A. account in Citibank Private Bank in Switzerland;

5/4/94 record of Citibank Private Bank in Switzerland credit of $10.2 million to account of Capricorn Trading
S.A.

c. Mandate Agreement between Asif Ali Zardari and Jens Schlegelmilch concerning Bomer Finance, Inc.
[601-2]………………………………… 466

d. Mandate Agreement between Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Jens Schlegelmilch concerning Mariston Securities, Inc.
[603-4]………………………………… 468

e. British Virgin Islands Certificate of Incorporation for Capricorn Trading S.A.
[605]………………………………….. 470

f. 6/29/94 letter from Cotecna Inspection S.A., stating that if it receives a contract from the government of Pakistan for the inspection and price verification of imported goods, it will pay Mariston Securities, Inc., 6 percent of the payments made under the contract [597]………………………………….. 471

g. 12/11/97 communication from John Reed to Citibank Board, including a discussion of the Zardari matter.. 472

h. List of meetings between Mr. Zardari and Citibank personnel, provided by Citibank ………….. 474

Source: http://www.chowk.com/ilogs/64054/44106

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And if it all sounds too fascinating.. then read this story from the respected newspaper “The News” on how Swiss prosectors had to withdraw the corruption cases after the Government of Pakistan pardoned all politicians under the garb of a National Reconciliation Ordinance signed by Musharraf, the dictator.

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With the withdrawal of money-laundering charges against Asif Ali Zardari by a Geneva prosecutor on Monday, the Co-chairman of the PPP must be a very happy man today after having fought the cases in several local and international courts for more than 10 years.

Irrespective of the merit of the case, the Swiss announcement is no surprise as the government of Pakistan, which initiated the money-laundering cases against Zardari and the late Benazir Bhutto, had been struggling for some time to withdraw the charges.

Now there is no case pending anywhere in the world against the contender for the Aiwan-i-Sadr, whose proud supporters will be able to keep their heads high when they walk into the office of the Election Commission on Tuesday morning to file his nomination papers for the country’s highest post. Only Asif Ali Zardari, whose political rivals had coined the nickname of “Mr Ten Percent,” knows how much he had to suffer during all these years to get a clean chit and become “Mr Clean.”

The money-laundering charges against Zardari were taken seriously by the international banking circles and the governments in 1999 when US Congress launched an intensive investigation into the allegations of money-laundering by Citibank through private banking.

A permanent sub-committee on investigation by US Congress found two cases intriguing enough to kick off a thorough probe. Nigeria’s military dictator Sani Abacha and Asif Ali Zardari’s bank accounts qualified for this investigation and US Congress found that both had been involved in money-laundering through Citibank’s negligence.

Pakistan’s former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, who was only known for his skills as a private banker before he joined Musharraf as his Finance Minister, was summoned by US Congress to appear before the committee and record his statement.

In that statement Aziz, who fled the country soon after the February 18 election results, had to disclose the number, amount, and details of the meetings that he had held with Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari as a private banker.

In his written testimony submitted to US Congress, Aziz admitted that he held at least 12 meetings either with Zardari or Bhutto separately or when both of them were present. The meetings were held between January 1994 and 1998 and interestingly these were the same years when Zardari was accused of money-laundering through ARY International Exchange, according to the details of the US report.

In some of these meetings with Citibank officials, other persons such as John Reed, who became President Clinton’s top financial guru, Shaukat Tarin, William Rhodes, Paul Collins, Salim Raza, and Sajjad Rizvi also participated.

These meetings were held in Islamabad , Karachi, Davos (Switzerland), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and New York City. John Reed, who was then Citigroup co-chair, told the committee that before his trip to Pakistan in February 1994, he was advised to “stay away” from Mr Zardari for accusations of corruption which surrounded him and that “he was not a man with whom the bank wanted to be associated.”

Yet, one year later, for some unknown reasons, the American bank let Zardari open three accounts in Switzerland. Mr Reed told the committee that when he learnt of Zardari’s accounts he thought the account officer must have been “an idiot.”

Three years after the accounts opened and were operative in Swiss banks, Citicorp’s Chairman John Reed wrote to the Board of Directors on December 11, 1997: “We have another issue with the husband of ex-Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan. I do not yet understand the facts but I am inclined to think that we made a mistake.”

On the basis of the report findings, tougher systems were introduced in the US banking sector. However, the government of Pakistan, under the NRO, had withdrawn all cases from the local courts.

This local withdrawal was made the basis for the dropping of the cases in Swiss courts despite a voluminous investigative report by US Congress which had all the details of accounts and the route through which this money travelled to its destination.

The withdrawal of cases on Monday by the Swiss court will put an end to years of investigations. The 3.9 million Swiss francs, which were seized from these accounts, had been given to the Swiss government.

This is the same case in which former Attorney General Malik Qayyum, as judge of the Lahore High Court, had given a verdict against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari. Qayyum was later booted out of the judiciary for charges of misconduct and corruption. Qayyum, however, served the PPP’s government as attorney general and appeared before the Swiss Courts on behalf of the government of Pakistan pleading the withdrawal of cases in which he himself had convicted the accused.

AP adds: The Geneva prosecutor says he has dropped money-laundering charges against PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. He says that 3.9 million Swiss francs seized in the case are being given to the Swiss government.

Prosecutor General Daniel Zappelli’s move comes eight months after he dropped charges against the assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Zappelli noted Monday that the Pakistan prosecutor had dropped his corruption cases against Zardari. He says Geneva’s 11-year investigation has produced too little for him to continue in light of the Pakistani prosecutor’s conclusion. He says he had no choice but to close the case.

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=16828

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Conclusion: A cesspool of corrupt politicians, businessmen, bankers, military men and foreign governments’ pointmen continue to destabilise, loot and plunder Pakistan.

Bring the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan back

Here is another story of the farcical de facto chief justice (CJ) who has occupied the highest seat of Judiciary unconstitutionally in Pakistan and the collusion of the PPP government to manipulate the education board (an independent institution) to get CJ’s daughter a higher grade …..   read on!

what a shame!!!

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The PPP government on Thursday aggressively blocked the parliamentary probe into the chief justice’s daughter case amid an uproar in the National Assembly committee meeting that witnessed a walkout by the government members, including the minister of state for education.

The chairman of the NA Standing Committee on Education, Abid Sher Ali, of the PML-N was not allowed to proceed as the state minister consistently pressed that the inclusion of the CJ’s daughter case in the meeting’s agenda was a violation of the rules. The State Minister, Ghulam Farid Kathia, also strongly objected to the presence of not only media persons covering the event but also that of Ansar Abbasi, Editor Investigations, The News, who was invited by the committee as a special guest to take part in the proceedings.

The whole proceedings, which included the suspension of the noisy sitting for 15 minutes and followed by walkout of the government members and even the Education Ministry mandarins, turned out to be a joke when the chairperson of the Federal Board for Intermediate and Secondary Education, Ms. Shaheen Khan, refused to brief the committee on the issue despite repeated requests by the committee chairman.

Every time she was given the floor, she said that she would not utter a word unless allowed by her secretary and the minister, who kept on pressing that the issue could not be included in the agenda of the meeting without his consultation. At her response to the committee, the chairman told her: “You are answerable to the committee and if you do not talk on the issue, then you may leave.”

The angry chairman even once announced to postpone the meeting against what he said the negative attitude of the government side but the members intervened and requested him to continue the meeting. He again asked the FBISE chairperson to tell the committee about the issue but time and again the minister interrupted him and did not let him proceed.

Chairman Abid conducted short census among the eight members of the committee out of whom four said the proceedings on this issue of public interest be maintained. The chairman, while using his discretionary power, resumed the proceedings.

State Minister for Education Ghulam Farid Kathia refused to brief the committee, saying it was not on the agenda of the committee’s meeting. However, he was of the view that the issue should be discussed in camera, not in the presence of newsmen. This irritated the chairman who observed that the issue was of immense public interest and must be discussed in the presence of the press.

The committee witnessed some rowdy scenes and exchange of harsh words between Abid Sher Ali and Ghulam Farid Kathia as well as the FBISE Chairperson Shaheen Khan, who also declined to speak without the minister’s permission.

“You are trying to sabotage this meeting by interrupting me again and again … you may leave,” Ali repeatedly told the state minister for education who argued that the issue of CJ’s daughter could not be discussed, as it was not on the committee’s agenda.

The situation remained tense, as the government side insisted that the issue be taken up some other day. Kathia was of the view that the committee chairman had not consulted him on the issue and, therefore, he was going against the rules and regulations. However, Abid Sher Ali said he had written letters to all the concerned officials, including the FBISE chairperson, to appear before the committee with all the required record.

He said the issue was of serious nature in which the top government officials were involved in misuse of powers. “But nobody is ready on this issue,” Kathia argued followed by Abid Sher Ali’s remarks: “If you are not ready, then you can leave.” However, the minister refused to do so.

The chairman of the committee said: “You are trying to block the committee to proceed in the case of high public importance and defending the corrupt. You and the government are against the voiceless students who are tens of thousands in number.” Abid Sher Ali also said that the minister was defending those who indulged in abuse of power.

On the minister’s signal, four MNAs left the proceedings and staged a walkout. One of the National Assembly’s senior officials told the minister that under such rules, the committee could not discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, sources told The News that the meeting of the committee, scheduled to continue on Friday, was postponed by the speaker National Assembly. The sources said it was an attempt to strangulate the voice of truth.

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=18652