Tuesday September 26, 2023

Shehzad Akbar, Fawad behind media trial: Farhan Junejo

Pakistani government ministers lied about Farhan Junejo for political gains, say lawyers

June 03, 2022
Farhan Junejo says his life was almost ruined during the four years of investigation by the UKs NCA.
Farhan Junejo says his life was almost ruined during the four years of investigation by the UK's NCA.

LONDON: British Pakistani businessman Farhan Junejo has blamed the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) of Pakistan for putting him through a living hell for four years through Britain’s National Crime Agency’s £8 million money laundering investigation against him.

Addressing a press conference here, Farhan Junejo thanked Allah for helping him clear his name after four gruelling years. “I am thankful to the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) for holding a transparent and unbiased investigation and sifting facts through the lies and coming to the conclusion that I have not done anything illegal, didn’t do any criminal activity of money laundering or corruption. Both Shehzad Akbar and Fawad Chaudhary ran my media trial for no reason.”

Two weeks ago, the UK NCA confirmed that it had closed the money laundering investigation against Farhan Junejo and there will be no further action against the Sindhi origin businessman.

In a high-profile action that made headlines on 17 September 2018, the NCA detectives raided the Surrey home of Farhan Junejo and arrested him for the alleged crime of money laundering and corruption. Within minutes of his arrest, former PM Imran Khan’s advisor Shehzad Akbar took to the airwaves and hailed Junejo’s arrest, calling it a big breakthrough and a success for the ARU.

Shehzad Akbar had issued a charge sheet of corruption against Junejo, calling him a money-launderer who stole Pakistan’s £8 million but the NCA investigation has established that Junejo was not involved in money laundering and corrupt practices – ending the high-profile probe.

Farhan Junejo told the media at a press conference that his life was almost ruined during the four years of investigation by the NCA. “I lost money, business, relations and peace of mind. The business losses can be recovered but the pain that I and my family went through can never be compensated. I have no words to describe how difficult it has been for me and my family. The ARU did everything it could to destroy me for political point-scoring. Shehzad Akbar and Fawad Chaudhary went on national television to defame me.

They told complete lies about me to make their government look good. I suffered on every count after what they did.” Farhan said the PTI ministers talk about Medina Riyasat but their actions are totally against that. “If someone wants to know about the principles of fairness, justice and transparency that were prevalent in Medina Riyasat, then look at the example of the UK where people get justice, where I got justice. Rulers of Medina Riyasat don’t lie, don’t fabricate and don’t use state resources to abuse and destroy others.”

Farhan Junejo said that the ARU sent loads of papers to the NCA to get him prosecuted and punished on false grounds but the NCA investigators didn’t believe in the political witch hunt and carried out an independent investigation, which made it clear that the allegations were false and aimed at political victimisation.

“I was called front-man of Asif Ali Zardari and Makhdoom Amin Faheem. It was said I own London’s Churchill Hotel as Zardari’s Benami but all of this was baseless and false. Alhamdullilah, the truth has prevailed and the NCA found no links between myself and any of the allegations made.

Names of my family members including my wife, sisters and mother were leaked to the media. My address details were leaked to the media and I was maligned all over the world.” The NCA investigated Junejo under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) for the recovery of criminal assets – over allegations that Junejo had committed offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by laundering to the UK the proceeds of corruption in Pakistan to the tune of £8 million when he worked for the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

Farhan Junejo said that the original case against him was framed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with the TDAP scandal. The documents that the ARU sent to the UK government have proven that there was no money laundering and corruption.

“I request the FIA to drop this case and end my agony. The NCA is a super anti-corruption agency and its investigation has proven that I didn’t do anything wrong. The FIA must end this farce.”

Interestingly, the English lawyers of Junejo used interviews of Akbar and Chaudhary to defend Junejo before the NCA – and succeeded in pointing out that both Akbar and Chaudhary had run a media trial of Junejo and made completely false allegations.

The FIA had alleged that Junejo had laundered between Rs180-250m from Pakistan but the charge sheet prepared by the ARU evidence failed to convince the UK authorities how the monies transferred into almost a dozen accounts were proceeds of crimes or corruption.

Junejo’s lawyers said they were pleased that Farhan Junejo had been cleared of allegations of corruption and money laundering. Pakistani government ministers lied about Junejo for political gains but the fair UK investigation provided allegations against Junejo were baseless, said the lawyers.