Swiss quash Benazir conviction

A Swiss police tribunal has overturned the convictions of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her jailed husband on a money laundering charge.

    Former Pakistan PM was found guilty of receiving $12m illegally

    Benazir, her husband Ali Asif Zardari and their Swiss lawyer were convicted by a Geneva-based magistrate Daniel Devaud on 30 July for obtaining $12 million in illegal commissions from two Swiss companies for a 1994 customs inspection contract.

    But Farhat Allah Babar, a senator of Benazir’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said on Wednesday that the Geneva Police Tribunal had quashed the convictions.

    “The Geneva Police Tribunal has accepted her appeal and quashed the six-month suspended sentences ordered by Devaud,” Babar said.

    "The Geneva Police Tribunal has accepted her appeal and quashed the six-month suspended sentences ordered by Devaud"

    Farhat Allah Babar
    PPP senator

    The original convictions had found Benazir and her husband guilty of laundering the funds in Swiss Bank accounts and using a portion of the cash to purchase a diamond necklace.

    The magistrate had ordered them to return the funds to the Pakistani government. Benazir than lodged an appeal in Geneva in August.

    Case not over

    But the quashing of the convictions by the police tribunal is only a temporary reprieve for Benazir.

    The PPP-Senator explained the case was far from being over.

    “The case has now been referred to the attorney general to decide,” Babar said.

    No date has been fixed for the next decision.

    The conviction was a major embarrassment for Benazir and Zardari. They always maintained the spate of corruption cases against them was politically motivated.

    Benazir has been in self-exile in London and Dubai since 1998. Zardari has spent the last eight years in jail on multiple corruption charges.

    SOURCE: AFP


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