KARACHI - A local court on Saturday remanded Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Hussain Lawai and banker Taha Raza in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) until July 11 in a money laundering case.

The accused, who were arrested a day before, were produced before a judicial magistrate in District South. An FIA official pleaded to the court to grant physical custody of the accused for further interrogation. The FIA official submitted before the court that four billion rupees have been recovered from the accused. The IO submitted investigation report by saying that the accused were involved in illegal bank transactions worth billions of rupees.

Speaking on behalf of the accused, Shoukat Hayat Advocate submitted before the court that his clients were innocent and were arrested without any allegation. He added that the FIA had reopened an inquiry that was closed three to four years ago. The FIA’s lawyer denied the claims by saying that they have solid evidence against the accused.

According to the prosecution, the accused were involved in facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, billions of rupees were deposited into the said fake accounts and 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. The biggest transfer made out of the alleged fake accounts was to an Arab national, Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors.

Agro Farms Thatta, a reported holding of Zardari's close aide Anwar Majeed, is also mentioned as one of the beneficiaries. FIA further submitted that a sum of Rs4.5 billion was credited and routed through the accounts during a span of 10 months.

The FIA identified Bahria Town Karachi and Omni Pvt Ltd among the 15 parties that had made deposits totalling Rs2.855 billion into the aforesaid accounts. The beneficiaries into whose accounts the monies were routed have been issued summons.

In a brief chat with media personnel, Lawai 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 [money laundering] are abroad, and I have been accused. I am a heart patient. I will also ask the court to give me medical relief," he added.

When asked if he had been arrested due to his rumoured 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."

Lawai, who is currently vice chairman of the Summit Bank, also served as its president from 2008 to 2016. He previously served as the Central Depository Company (CDC) chairman as well.

He held the position of president and CEO at the MCB Bank and holds the distinction of establishing the Faysal Islamic Bank, Pakistan branches; the first Islamic Shariah Compliant Bank (presently known as Faysal Bank Limited). He also served as general manager at Emirates NBD Bank for Pakistan and Far East.

Currently, Lawai is also on the board of directors of Wyeth Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Pakistan Ltd and The Searle Company Ltd. He also serves on the Board of Governors of Karachi Grammar School and Virtual University of Pakistan. He also served on the board of directors of Pakistan International Airlines and State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan. He did his MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.