Report regarding Zardari receiving millions in submarine deal a 'conspiracy': Babar

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Islamabad, Nov.12 (ANI): A day after a report in a leading French newspaper revealed that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari may have received millions of dollars in kickbacks during the purchase of three submarines from France in 1994, Zardari's spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, rejected the report as a 'conspiracy' against the President.

The News quoted Babar, as saying that the report was yet another attempt to defame Zardari.

The newspaper had reported that investigations have revealed that Zardari received 4.3 million dollars in kickbacks from the sale of three Agosta 90 submarines for 825 million euros (approx. 1.237 billion dollars at current exchange rate).

The newspaper said that Pakistani National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was alerted about the massive scam way back in 2001.

The British authorities told the NAB that Zardari had received several large payments into his Swiss bank accounts from a Lebanese businessman, Abdulrahman el-Assir, during 1994 and 1995.

According to a former official of French naval defence company DCN, French authorities had selected Assir to act as intermediary in the deal.

He allegedly deposited a total of 1.3 million dollars in Zardari's bank accounts between August 15 and 30, 1994, a month before the submarine deal was finalised. An additional 1.2 million dollars and 1.8 million dollars were deposited in Zardari's account a year later.

The newspaper report also revealed that investigators believe that the non-payment of the full amount of the agreed kickbacks may have led to the deaths of 11 French national in a suicide attack in Karachi in 2002. (ANI)

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