Arrested on charges of blackmail. Accused of attaching a bomb to a Pakistani businessman, forcing him to withdraw money from his bank account. Charges dropped in 1993 when wife Benazir BhuttoBenazir Bhutto becomes Prime Minister for the second time. Serves as Minister for the Environment from 1993-1996.
Murtaza Bhutto, brother of Benazir, confronts Zardari over bringing the Pakistan People’s Party into disrepute over corrupt activities. Meeting ends acrimoniously with Murtaza Bhutto famously shaving off half of Zardari’s moustache. It is widely believed that Zardari used police connections to have Murtaza Bhutto assassinated in 1996.
Opens Citibank account which Swiss investigators allege passed some USD 40m in illegal payoffs from foreign companies doing business in Pakistan. Includes a one-time payoff of USD 10m from a West Asia gold bullion dealer in return for a monopoly on Pakistan gold imports.
Zardari and Bhutto allegedly receive USD 2m in kickbacks relating to the purchase of 8,000 Polish tractors as part of the Awami Tractor Scheme.
Imprisoned in Pakistan on corruption charges and in connection with the murder of Judge Nizam Ahmed in 1996. Granted bail in November 2004 but was re-arrested on 21 December 2004 after failing to attend a hearing in the Nizam Ahmed case. Zardari alleges that he was tortured during his seven-year confinement – charges backed by human rights groups.
Swiss Government gives Pakistan government documents relating to corruption allegations against Zardari and wife, Benazir Bhutto involving USD 13.7m in laundered money.
French authorities reveal that Zardari proposed to give Dassault Aviation exclusive rights to replace Pakistani airforce fighter jets in return for a 5% commission.
Enquiry conducted by Pakistan’s Public Accounts Committee into two counts of fraud worth nearly USD 3.3m over the purchase of helicopters. The case referred to the National Accountability Bureau in 2000-02 but no action was taken.
Swiss magistrates find Zardari and Bhutto guilty of money laundering, sentencing them to six-month suspended jail terms, a fine of $50,000 and ordering them to pay USD 11m to the Pakistani government.
Admitted to owning a 365-acre estate in England, including a 20-room mansion, which Pakistani authorities allege was bought with the proceeds of corruption.
Application to halt corruption proceedings thrown out by Pakistan court. Gained the nickname “Mr. Ten-percent” after the cut he allegedly received from a series of corrupt business deals.
Five different corruption cases against Zardari dropped by judges appointed by President Pervez MusharrafPresident Pervez Musharraf. Charges in connection with the murder of Justice Nizam Ahmed were also dropped.
All cases against Zardari in Swiss courts dropped at the request of Pakistani authorities. USD 60m in allegedly laundered money restored. Zardari denies the money is his.
6 September 2008
Zardari elected President of Pakistan, winning 479 from 702 votes from lawmakers in both houses of parliament and four state assemblies.
More about Mr. 10% (Asif Zardari)
French, Polish, Spanish, and Swiss documents have fuelled the charges of corruption against Bhutto and her husband. They faced a number of legal proceedings, including a charge of laundering money through Swiss banks. Though never convicted, her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison on similar corruption charges. After being released on bail in 2004, Zardari suggested that his time in prison involved torture; human rights groups have supported his claim that his rights were violated.
A 1998 New York Times investigative report claims that Pakistani investigators have documents that uncover a network of bank accounts, all linked to the family's lawyer in Switzerland, with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder. According to the article, documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zardari offered exclusive rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force's fighter jets in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a Swiss corporation controlled by Zardari. The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10 million into his Dubai-based Citibank accounts. The owner of the company denied that he had made payments to Zardari and claims the documents were forged.
Bhutto maintained that the charges levelled against her and her husband were purely political. An Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report supports Bhutto's claim. It presents information suggesting that Benazir Bhutto was ousted from power in 1990 as a result of a witch hunt approved by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The AGP report says Khan illegally paid legal advisers 28 million rupees to file 19 corruption cases against Bhutto and her husband in 1990–92.
Yet the assets held by Bhutto and her husband continue to be scrutinized and speculated about. The prosecutors have alleged that their Swiss bank accounts contain £740 million. Zardari also bought a neo-Tudor mansion and estate worth over £4 million in Surrey, England, UK. The Pakistani
investigations have tied other overseas properties to Zardari's family. These include a $2.5 million manor in Normandy owned by Zardari's parents, who had modest assets at the time of his marriage. Bhutto denied holding substantive overseas assets.
On 23 July 1998, the Swiss Government handed over documents to the government of Pakistan which relate to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband. The documents included a formal charge of money laundering by Swiss authorities against Zardari. The Pakistani government had been conducting a wide-ranging inquiry to account for more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 1997 that was allegedly stashed in banks by Bhutto and her husband. The Pakistani government recently filed criminal charges against Bhutto in an effort to track down an estimated $1.5 billion she and her husband are alleged to have received in a variety of criminal enterprises. The documents suggest that the money Zardari was alleged to have laundered was accessible to Benazir Bhutto and had been used to buy a diamond necklace for over $175,000. The PPP has responded by flatly denying the charges, suggesting that Swiss authorities have been misled by false evidence provided by the Government of Pakistan.
On 6 August 2003, Swiss magistrates found Bhutto and her husband guilty of money laundering. They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were ordered to pay $11 million to the Pakistani government. The six-year trial concluded that Bhutto and Zardari deposited in Swiss accounts $10 million given to them by a Swiss company in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The couple said they would appeal. The Pakistani investigators say Zardari opened a Citibank account in Geneva in 1995 through which they say he passed some $40 million of the $100 million he received in payoffs from foreign companies doing business in Pakistan. In October 2007, Daniel Zappelli, chief prosecutor of the canton of Geneva, said he received the conclusions of a money laundering investigation against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on October 29, but it was unclear whether there would be any further legal action against her in Switzerland.
The Polish Government has given Pakistan 500 pages of documentation relating to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband. These charges are in regard to the purchase of 8,000 tractors in a 1997 deal.According to Pakistani officials, the Polish papers contain details of illegal commissions paid by the tractor company in return for agreeing to their contract. It was alleged that the arrangement "skimmed" Rs 103 mn rupees ($2 million) in kickbacks. "The documentary evidence received from Poland confirms the scheme of kickbacks laid out by Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto in the name of (the) launching of Awami tractor scheme", APP said. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari allegedly received a 7.15% commission on the purchase through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus tractors.
Potentially the most lucrative deal alleged in the documents involved the effort by Dassault Aviation, a French military contractor. French authorities indicated in 1998 that Bhutto's husband, Zardari, offered exclusive rights to Dassault to replace the air force's fighter jets in exchange for a five percent commission to be paid to a corporation in Switzerland controlled by Zardari.
At the time, French corruption laws forbade bribery of French officials but permitted payoffs to foreign officials, and even made the payoffs tax-deductible in France. However, France changed this law in 2000.
In 1998-1999, an enquiry was conducted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament to investigate the matter regarding the purchase of the helicopter. The case involves defrauding substantive sum of $2.168 million and $1.1 million public money. The record shows that the case was not pursued properly nor diligently. FIR No 1 of 1998 was registered with Federal Investigation Agency State Bank Circle Rawalpindi on the complaint of Cabinet Division. Thorough investigation was conducted by the committee headed by Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir and two other members, namely Faridullah Jamali and Jamshaid Ali Shah. During this investigation the committee Chairman Barjees Tahir summoned both the former President Farooq Leghari and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto along with others, and they were investigated. The case received extensive media coverage both inside and outside Pakistan. The recommendations of the committee, obtained from the file, are as follows:
6.1: That FIR be lodged against (1) Malik Allah Yar Khan of Kalabagh, (2) Zia Pervez Hussain, (3) and Dr M.A. Khan, and that criminal proceedings be instituted against them for defrauding the government.
6.2: That the amount of $2.168 million be recovered from Malik Allah Yar Khan, Zia Pervez Hussain and Dr M.A. Khan by attaching their properties etc in Pakistan or abroad for this purpose. FIA may be directed to take steps to recover this money through Interpol, if necessary. Any banker or foreign national involved in this fraud may also be taken to task by the Federal Investigation Agency.
6.3: That since Benazir Bhutto is clearly responsible for this loss to the exchequer as major decisions in respect of this contract were taken with her approval or direction and passed on to Cabinet Division through former PS PM (Ahmad Sadiq), FIR may be registered against her for causing loss to state by misuse of her authority as PM, and criminal proceedings be initiated.
6.4: That since Farooq Leghari knows that his name has visibly come up in this case, and he has tried to plead innocent; and since it is unimaginable that those operating in this scandal could have easy access to the top bureaucrats like Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and even to the Prime Minister herself without the backing and active support of the President, FIR against him must also be registered and criminal proceedings initiated.
6.5: That as for the senior civil servants involved in the case, Ahmad Sadiq former PS PM, Humayun Faiz Rasul, and Sahibzada Imtiaz former Cabinet Secretary, no action can be taken against them at this stage as they already stand retired/superannuated.
The case was further referred to the National Accountability Bureau in 2000-02 but no action was taken.
In the largest single payment investigators have uncovered, a gold bullion dealer in Western Asia was alleged to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari's accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan's jewellery industry. The money was allegedly deposited into Zardari's Citibank account in Dubai. Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with Iran, has long been a gold smugglers' haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto's second term, the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast.
Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: in return for the exclusive right to import gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade. In November 1994, Pakistan's Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan's sole authorized gold importer. In an interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had travelled to Islamabad several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any corruption or secret deals. "I have not paid a single cent to Zardari," he said. Razzak claims that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have his company wrongly identified as the depositor. "Somebody in the bank has cooperated with my enemies to make false documents," he said.
Bhutto's niece and others have publicly accused Bhutto of complicity in the killing of her brother Murtaza Bhutto in 1996 by uniformed police officers while she was Prime Minister.