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July 7, 2018
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FIR registered in Rs35 bn money laundering case

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July 7, 2018

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KARACHI: After the registration of case and arrest of some prominent bankers including former head of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and former vice-president of the same bank Talha Raza in connection with alleged money laundering of billions of rupees, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is now keen to arrest two main businessmen father and son in the same case to reach the real beneficiary of the whole game, The News learnt.

Though there was no official word on the part of the FIA, a top official of the agency from Sindh on the condition of anonymity informed The News that formal first information report (FIR) 04/2018 has been registered under sections of Anti-Money Laundering Act and Banking Ordinance against some eight persons including Hussain Lawai, Talha Raza (under arrest), Anwar Majeed, head of Omni Group, his son AG Majeed and others.

Some sources informed that including Hussain Lawai, the FIA arrested four bankers on Friday.

The FIA sources said the agency not only detected the money laundering of some Rs35 billion, but also unearthed the original operators, facilitators and real beneficiaries including a big political personality.

The FIA official added, “After the registration of FIR, investigation and in the light of statements of arrested persons, the FIA wanted to apprehend Anwar Majeed and his son AG Majeed, said to be the main game planners and operators of the said 29 accounts. In this regard, after fulfilling legal formalities, red-warrants would be issued to arrest both father and son.” The sources added that accounts were opened in the name of some unknown and fake companies like A-One Enterprises, Royale Enterprises, Alfa Zulu (Pvt) Ltd, Logistic Trading, Ibrahim Linkers, Agro Farms Thatta and Parthenon (Pvt) Limited and others.

According sources in the FIA, 29 ‘benami’ accounts (account without the knowledge of a person whose name being used for the purpose) out of them 16 at Summit Bank, eight in Sindh Bank and five in UBL, were allegedly opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made in the accounts.

The amount according to the FIA sources is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes. But despite these huge transactions, the bank authorities never reported them to the authorities concerned including the FIA.

The FIA sources confirmed that in 2015, the Agency had initiated an inquiry into the case after Financial Monitoring Unit of the State Bank of Pakistan generated a Suspicious Transaction Report in January 2015 about some suspicious bank accounts, but inquiry was closed at that time.

Recently, the FIA reopened the inquiry and issued notices to 35 responsible persons including Hussain Lawai, Anwar Majeed and AG Majeed, some of them recorded their statements in-person and some through their lawyers, but both the father and son Anwar and AG Majeed preferred to leave the country.

On June 24, Hussain Lawai was stopped by the FIA for travelling abroad when he tried to leave the country on his British passport from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. Lawai was allowed to only go his home following an undertaking that he would appear before the FIA for the recording of his statement and joining inquiry.

Meanwhile, Lawai approached the Sindh High Court against the expected action of the FIA and prayed for protective bail, but a divisional bench headed by Justice Iqbal Ahmed Kalhoro rejected his plea and suggested him to cooperate with the FIA.

It is also pertinent to mention here that recently a bid to merge loss-making Summit Bank into Sindh Bank was thwarted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan when a shareholder of the Summit Bank moved the court.

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