Swiss drop money-laundering charges against Pakistan presidential candidate Joe Shaulis at 12:03 PM ET
[JURIST] Swiss Prosecutor General Daniel Zappelli announced on Monday that he will not pursue money-laundering charges against Pakistani presidential candidate Asif Ali Zardari [CV; BBC profile], who is the widower of the assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Zappelli explained that Geneva was left with insufficient evidence to continue after authorities in Pakistan [JURIST news archive] dropped their own corruption and smuggling charges [JURIST report] against Zardari, who heads the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website]. Zardari and Bhutto had been suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder $12 million paid by companies which contracted with the Pakistani government to perform customs inspections, but Pakistani authorities dismissed charges against Bhutto shortly after she was assassinated last year [JURIST reports]. Zappelli has unfrozen $60 million in seized assets [Reuters report] but Geneva's government will receive over $3 million. AP has more. PakTribune.com has local coverage.
If elected, Zardari would be the successor to Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive], who announced his resignation [JURIST report] earlier this month in order to avoid impeachment for his alleged abuses of authority, including the mass dismissal of judges [JURIST report] last year. On Monday, Pakistan's coalition government dissolved [JURIST report] after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif withdrew his Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) [official website] party over the failure to reach an agreement with the PPP to reinstate the ousted judges.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.