Former prime minister’s son jailed for seven years for money laundering

The exiled son of the former Bangladesh prime minister has been jailed for seven years for money laundering. Tarique Rahman, an opposition figure and considered the heir apparent to his mother Khaleda Zia, was convicted by judges in the country’s high court. They set aside an earlier acquittal in a lower court and fined him 200 million takas ($2.54 million). The ruling is thought likely to fire up the rivalry between Ms Zia, leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

There is no evidence which shows that Tarique Rahman took or laundered any money. The aim is to keep him (Rahman) away from politics and to prolong one-party rule in the country.

Khaleda Zia aide Shimul Biswas

Rahman, the senior vice-chairman of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was arrested on various charges of corruption in 2007 during a state of emergency under a military-backed caretaker government. The 51-year-old has been living in exile in London since he left the country in 2008 after securing bail on medical grounds. In 2013, Rahman and a businessman friend were cleared of charges that he siphoned off 204.1 million takas to Singapore between 2003 and 2007. In the latest ruling, the court ordered authorities to take steps to bring Rahman back from London but Bangladesh does not have an extradition treaty with Britain. Rahman’s lawyers said he would appeal but experts say he would have to return to Bangladesh to do so.