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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Trail of corruption and kickback charges still in wings for opposition leader - David Pallister

Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari - nicknamed Mr 10% over alleged extortion - faced eight counts of taking tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks. But whatever decision the court arrives at, the couple also have to contend with money laundering proceedings in Switzerland and Spain, and a civil case in London involving an expensive Surrey mansion.

As the president's ordinance only deals with offences up to 1999, investigations in Pakistan could continue into allegations that the pair paid about $2m in illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein under the oil-for-food programme.

The controversy surrounding Bhutto's financial affairs has been compounded by reports showing she and her family have worldwide assets worth about 90bn Pakistan rupees ($1.5bn). Despite voluminous evidence, some from the British government, the Bhuttos deny all the charges.

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