Trial of Khaleda Zia’s younger son begins in absentia

January 5th, 2011 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 5 (IANS) The trial has begun here in absentia of former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, who is charged with graft and money laundering. Koko moved to Bangkok in 2008. His trial began Tuesday amidst reports of a Singapore court convicting a Singaporean citizen who kept Koko’s laundered money in his account, The Daily Star reported.

According to a report in The Straits Times published from Singapore, the court Monday convicted and fined businessman Lim Siew Cheng $900,677 for transferring Koko’s $317,000 and holding the money in his personal account upon Koko’s advice.

The Dhaka court began the trial in absentia of Koko and his business partner, Ismail Hossain Saimon, son of a former shipping minister, the late Akbar Hossain.

Twenty-three cases are pending against Khaleda, currently the leader of opposition in parliament, her elder son Tarique Rahman and Koko.

Of those, the money laundering case against Koko is the first that has been put on trial.

After serving several months in a jail here, Koko left for Thailand on parole on medical grounds in 2008-end. Last year, the government tried to get him home saying that he had flouted parole rules, but this did not succeed.

Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman is away in London on medical grounds.

Another Dhaka court posted one of Tarique’s cases for hearing Feb 2.

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