Friday, June 27, 2008

A leaf from the Rich List of Pakistan (as of 2008)

And the Second Richest Pakistani Man in the World is:

Asif Ali Zardari
Co-chairperson, Pakistan People's Party
Worth: £900m ($1.8billion)
Industry: Eh...Politics

Asif Zardari, famously dubbed “Mr 10%”, is the previously unknown, partying son of a small-time politician and landowner who struck gold by marrying the country's most strikingly prominent female politician, former Prime Minister Benzair Bhutto. Taking advantage of his late wife’s authority, Zardari took kickbacks from many business deals conducted inside and outside of Pakistan. The most famous was a $4 billion deal to buy 32 Mirage jets from the French company Dassault. Documents referring to this deal include letters from Dassault executives indicating that an agreement was reached to pay a 5% “remuneration” - about $200m - to Marleton Business, a BVI company controlled by Zardari. Besides these, many more kickback deals were taken up with companies such as ARY Gold, Social de Surveillance (SGS), Cotecna, and ZPC Ursus, a Polish tractor company.

Zardari's asset holdings easily amount to hundreds of millions of dollars today, with 8 prime real estate properties in the UK, one of which was the notorious Rockwood Estate (365 acres in Surrey, worth £4.35m), now sold with the money sent back to the Government of Pakistan. Zardari also owns 14 multi-million dollar mansions in the USA, and the Holiday Inn hotel, Houston, Texas which he co-owns with Iqbal Memon and Sadar-ud-Din Hashwani of the Hashwani Group.

Zardari and Bhutto also owned huge business ventures in the Middle East. Zardari has huge stakes in sugar mills all over Pakistan, including Sakrand Sugar Mills, Nawabshah, Ansari Sugar Mills, Hyderabad, Mirza Sugar Mills, Badin, Pangrio Sugar Mills, Thatta and Bachani Sugar Mills, Sanghar.

In addition:

Zardari was arrested by the Pakistan Police for the first time in 1993 on charges of extortion and blackmailing of a local Businessman. The charges were dropped after his wife came into power. He was kept in custody from 1997 to 2004 on charges ranging from corruption to murder. He was granted bail and released in November 2004 when a judge said the cases were all false, although allegations of pressure on the judge have also been made. However, he was re-arrested on 21 December 2004 after his failure to attend a hearing in a murder trial in Karachi. He was released shortly after.

After Bhutto's assasination, Zardari produced a will that called for their 19 year old son to inherit the Party's chairmanship. Zardari has since been selected as co-Chairman with his son and is to preside over the Party until Bilawal Bhutto comes of age.

The much-maligned and parasitic former First Husband is today unopposed kingmaker and second richest man in Pakistan. For all those who dismissed him during his long prison term, subsequent rumors of separation from his wife after his release, and repeated stories of a failing heart - Asif Ali Zardari is the new ugly face of Pakistani politics.

First three paragraphs excerpted and edited from Pakistan's Rich List 2008
Additional information excerpted and edited from Wikipedia.