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July 12, 2018

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Money taken abroad through corruption, legal means: DG FIA

ISLAMABAD: Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that 4,221 Pakistanis have foreign bank accounts and assets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The revelation came as Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, while heading a two-judge bench, remarked, “FIA should inform us how many Pakistanis have assets and accounts in the UAE.”

The two-judge bench was hearing a suo motu case regarding foreign bank accounts and assets of Pakistani citizens, Geo News reported.

As the hearing went under way, the chief justice observed, “We had earlier ordered that we be informed regarding how many people have foreign accounts as we should know who has not declared them.”

“Billions have been kept in bank accounts in Switzerland and Dubai,” Justice Nisar noted. “People looted the money and took it abroad,” he added. To this, the DG FIA said, “They took the money abroad as per the law in 1992.” The chief justice observed, “A mechanism is needed to end white-collar crime.”

Memon continued, “Some took the money abroad through lawful means but there are also people who looted tax money and transferred it abroad. “That money was taken to the United States, Canada and Europe,” he informed the court, adding that the FIA has no authority to retrieve it..

“A plan of action needs to be made to bring back this money,” Memon said, adding that they do not have the authority for mutual legal assistance.

Justice Nisar in response remarked, “We will need to come up with a way to remove legal hurdles.” The bench then summoned senior lawyer and legal expert Ahmer Bilal Soofi to assist the court.

Further, the DG FIA said, “Money is also sent abroad through ‘hundi’. This is why a mechanism is needed to ensure that money cannot be sent abroad,” the chief justice remarked.

He continued, “The mechanism should not be such that a person travelling abroad even has to declare as little as $200. We cannot impose such an illogical restriction as people also go abroad to shop.” “We just want to stop the transfer of money to foreign countries,” he upheld. The hearing of the case has been adjourned till August 1.

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