7 years' jail for former Bangladesh PM's son

Tarique Rahman being escorted to court in 2007. He was convicted in absentia for money laundering and fined $3.4 million.
Tarique Rahman being escorted to court in 2007. He was convicted in absentia for money laundering and fined $3.4 million.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DHAKA • A Bangladesh court has sentenced the eldest son of the main opposition leader to seven years in prison for money laundering, a move that could end his political ambitions.

The high court convicted Tarique Rahman, 51, in absentia, overturning a 2013 acquittal by a lower court. Apart from a jail sentence, he was fined 200 million taka (S$3.4 million), the attorney-general said.

Rahman, who lives in exile in London, is the eldest son of opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia. He was considered her political heir apparent.

"The high court said Tarique Rahman influenced political power to help his close friend Giasuddin Mamun to get and then launder 200 million taka," deputy attorney-general Moniruzzaman Kabir told AFP.

"Mamun took the money as a bribe for securing a power plant contract for a construction company and laundered the money to a Singapore account," he said.

Rahman also took 45 million taka from the account and will now be barred from politics unless the Supreme Court overturns his conviction, Mr Kabir added.

There was no immediate comment from Ms Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

The BNP has been weakened by its decision to boycott the controversial 2008 elections and subsequent crackdowns by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2016, with the headline '7 years' jail for former Bangladesh PM's son'. Print Edition | Subscribe