KARACHI - Pakistan People’s Party leaders Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on Wednesday failed to appear before the FIA investigation team in alleged money laundering case.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday issued a notice to them for appearing on Wednesday in connection with a probe into alleged laundering of billions of rupees.

On June 6, the agency had registered a case in the Rs35 billion money laundering scam wherein 29 fake accounts were opened in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and three other banks to channel illegal funds.

The FIA has already arrested Summit Bank’s former president Hussain Lawai and Senior Vice President Taha Raza. Other accused have either fled the country or are in hiding.

Lawai is considered to be a close aide of Zardari, who along with Faryal is among the alleged recipients of the funds.

The siblings were directed to appear at FIA Karachi office to record their statements, however, they did not appear on Wednesday and sent their lawyers instead.

“Advocate Farooq H Naek’s legal team appeared on behalf of the PPP leaders before the FIA to submit a written statement seeking time until after elections,” FIA sources told The Nation.

“In the request, Zardari and Talpur have committed to presenting themselves before the FIA after the polls,” they said.

The lawyers asked for giving their clients until July 31 for personal appearance but the FIA officials told them that the agency has to submit a charge-sheet in the court by July 23, the sources added.

According to Pakistan Peoples Party sources, the party had unanimously decided in a high-level meeting held in Lahore that the top leadership will not appear before the investigative agency and PPP legal team will represent them instead.

In a related development, the FIA officials on Wednesday continued recording the statement of Hussain Lawai, who was removed from the position of Pakistan Stock Exchange chairperson after the FIA launched the probe. The FIA has also sought his physical remand from a lower court.

The FIA submitted its report in the money laundering matter in the Supreme Court on June 8. The court then ordered putting the names of all fake account holders, the officials and contractors involved in the scandal and all suspected beneficiaries on the Exit Control List (ECL).