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Tarique Rahman, the eldest son of Bangladesh’s opposition leader and former premier Khaleda Zia was  sentenced to seven years in prison for laundering nearly USD 2.5 million on Thursday (July 21) by the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.

The High Court Division bench of justices M Enayetur Rahim and Amir Hossain gave its decision on an appeal by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) by overturning the trial court’s verdict that acquitted Tarique Rahman, 48, from money laundering charges. The court sentenced him to seven years in prison and slapped a Taka 200 million fine. The court also upheld the seven year sentence and fined Tk 400 million to Rahman’s business partner, Giasuddin Al Mamun.

Tarique’s counsel Barrister Mahbubuddin Khokon said that they were taken aback by the verdict. “We are astonished and shocked.”

The matter of challenging the verdict of Tarique will be decided later since he is abroad, said another defence counsel Md Jalaluddin.

Khurshid Alam Khan, counsel for the ANti Corruption Commission (ACC) however, said that Tarique has to surrender before filing an appeal. “He has to turn himself in first. He will get 30 days to challenge the verdict.”

In his reaction over the verdict, Khan said that it once again endorsed that no one is above the law.

“The court said that it’s now time to rethink these matters as power and money laundering is linked.”

 In November 2013, a Dhaka court acquitted Tarique, the Zia, over charges brought against him for siphoning off Taka 204.1 million (nearly USD 2.5 million) to Singapore between 2003 and 2007.
Source – bdnews24 and The Independent