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February 9, 2019

Fake accounts scam: Omni Group CFO, key absconding suspect, lands in Pakistan


February 9, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Aslam Masood, key fugitive suspect in fake accounts case, landed in Pakistan last night. Senior officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have taken him into custody at Islamabad International Airport, credible sources said on Friday.

A couple of other key suspects who remain at the centre of the fake accounts scam probe may land in Pakistan soon, a move which investigators believe could change the course of gathering “conclusive evidence” against the prime accused.

“Aslam Masood landed in Pakistan. He would be produced before the court today (Saturday),” a senior official of FIA confirmed to this correspondent. CFO of Omni Group is being hospitalised tonight, added the official who was accompanying the team arrested Masood at airport.

Aslam Masood would also get recorded his statement with Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by Ehsan Sadiq and Combined Investigation Team of NAB being headed by Irfan Mangi next week. Officials say that Aslam Masood convinced the FIA officials that he would not appear in any court in Karachi while he would get recorded his statement first with JIT, then with NAB and later before the magistrate, added the officials who did not want to be named.

Before this, Pakistan successfully concluded negotiations with the International Police (Interpol) and local authorities to repatriate Aslam Masood (chief financial officer of Omni Group) in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Arif Khan, chief accountant KAM Crown International may arrive in Islamabad soon, credible sources confided to this correspondent.

The Interpol section of the FIA approached the Interpol for repatriation of key absconding accused wanted in fake accounts case. “Pakistan also got a positive feedback from responsible UAE people to get the statement of Nasser Abdullah Lootah, chairman Summit Bank (UAE national) recorded. A superior court has also been approached for pre-arrest bail of two absconding suspects,” revealed a senior official who was familiar with the latest development. As many as five accused against whom warrant of arrest were issued by the special court are absconding abroad currently.

The Interpol Central Office on request of the FIA is chasing all of them. Younas Kudwai, who according to JIT, owned M/s Rubicon and aide of Asif Ali Zardari and had a close nexus with the “Zardari System” which is supported through documents in JIT Investigation Report 25. “M/s Rubicon is a shady company controlled by Asif Ali Zardari was directly involved in misappropriation and diverting loans into Summit Bank as (laundered) equity. Its directors at that time of incorporation (02-09-2009) were one Iqbal Noori, (who has disclosed that he is a dummy of Younas Kudwai) and another Iqbal Ghafoor, who was a representative of Abdul Ghani Majid. Younas Kudwai - 12.5 percent (present Front man of Asif Ali Zardari, CEO of M/s Park Lane authorised to operate the company accounts by the Directors since 22-08-2008),” revealed the JIT report.

Muhammad Umair (an employee at KAM Crown LLC, Dubai who had business of Rs6.3 billion through fake accounts is also absconding. He was operating fake account of M/s Umair Associates with Arif Khan, chief accountant Omni Group and both were deputed for operation of these ‘fake accounts’.

Nasser Abdullah Lootah is accused of channelized billions of rupees through a special finance facility diverted into fake accounts by M/s Larr (Rs400 million), M/s Chamber (Rs400 million) and M/s New Thatta (Rs242 million) and after layering, it was channelized (laundered) through his (Lootah) account and ultimately ‘integrated’ (injected) as (laundered) equity into Summit Bank.

The CFO of Omni Group in his latest statement exclusively available with The News disclosed that he was operating on behalf of Majeed family which is now in focus of JIT probe for allegedly having a shady business of over Rs220 billion with dozens of business groups.

“I looked after all administrative/financial aspects (of Omni Group). It will not be wrong to say that from peon to director, I had all the responsibilities,” responded Aslam Masood when investigators asked him about his responsibilities/job description in Omni Group Pakistan.

“Equity rotation, sugar/alcohol sale money rotation, plots payments rotation, ‘bhatta’ (extortion) money, etc,” added Aslam Masood in response to a question pertaining to the purpose of opening and operating fake/benami accounts to run the shady business. In his confessional statement, Aslam Masood told investigators that he started working directly under Khawaja Anwar Majeed in 1992. He confessed that he was working as Director Orient Automotive, CEO Lar Sugar Mill, Director and 50 percent shareholder at Rubicon Developers and Rising Star (Thatta Sugar Mills shares).

Aslam Masood also admitted that he was known to Zain Malik after the latter used to give the name of company on whose name the cheques were to be made. In his confessional statement, Aslam Masood also admitted that Nadeem Iqbal was administrative manager, however, he was expelled by CEO Khawaja Salman Younis in 2014/15.

Zeeshan Warsi is now in charge of Sugar Division/Finance, he further said. About forming of company namely M/s Rising Star Pvt Ltd, he told the JIT that it was formed by showing Muhammad Arif Khan, adding that the said company was formed on directions of Khawaja Salman Younis and AG Majeed. About other companies, Aslam Masood revealed that Diamond Builders requested Summit Bank for release of various payments in the name of A-One International, Lucky International, Iqbal Metals, Gateway Iron Steel, Dream Trading and Ocean Enterprises. He revealed that Regent Services Pvt Ltd has corresponded and instructed Summit Bank regarding release of payments for construction of G-2 building.

When asked if he knows Syed Faisal Hussain Shah and Shabnum Bhutto, Aslam Masood in his statement said, “G-2 Plot was registered on the name of Shabnam Bhutto/Sanam Bhutto. Later, it was transferred in the name of Syed Faisal Hussain Shah, then transferred on the name of Mustafa Majeed and subsequently to Summit Bank.”

To another question, Aslam Masood responded that there is some company in the name of Muhammad Ashraf who is the man of Younis Qidwai. Ashraf signs the forms and gives them to Younis Qidwai, he said. When the JIT asked why he has provided two cheques for Rs9,000,000 each of joint accounts of Zain Malik/Mushtaq Ahmed to Muhammad Ashraf for encashment, he said, “Arif used to do this job of cheques, however no cheque can be given by him to Ashraf as Ashraf did not work in our company.”

On Mohsin Sheikhani, Aslam Masood revealed that he never met him but Younis Qidwai knows him well. When asked about Muhammad Arif Khan and Muhammad Umair, he said, “Umair is a low level employee. A company has been registered on his name. He works with Younis Qidwai. He is presently in Dubai. He deals in payment of cheques/banks. Having serious domestic issues, he has committed four suicide attempts so far.”

When the JIT asked who opened and operated the fake/benami account in the name of Muhammad Umair/Umair Associates at Summit Bank and Sindh Bank, the Omni Group CFO revealed that Arif opened the account with the permission of Younis Qidwai.

“I was the custodian of the chequebooks of all the bank accounts of Umair Associates. Bilal Sheikh, Jameel Memon and Haneef Memon were front persons in all this process,” he said.

When the JIT asked who issued the cheques of the said fake/benami bank accounts, he responded, “AG Majeed used to ask me and I in turn used to ask Arif for the cheques of said fake/benami bank accounts. Initially, these used to be signed by the individuals on whose names these were opened, however, finding it difficult, subsequently Arif started signing it. Fake/benami accounts were not opened on my instructions but on orders from AG Majeed, however, I used to supervise them.”

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