The Federal Investigation (FIA) got former government official and an aide of Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Farhan Junejo, arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over claims that he allegedly laundered around Rs180 to Rs250 million out of Pakistan into his overseas accounts, a local media outlet reported on Monday.
Reportedly, an 85-page charge sheet was sent by FIA to NCA to request for action.
A press release quoted NCA as stating that it had arrested Farhan over alleged money laundering in the United Kingdom. It further stated that the investigation had been supported by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and FIA, while Farhan has been suspected of controlling a UK property portfolio worth more than £8 million without any legitimate source of income.
NCA gave no further details of the exact allegations, but the charge sheet of FIA carries a reference to an FIR registered in Karachi against him in August 2013 in reference to money laundering. The 85-page document claimed that Farhan was indulged in corrupt practices during his tenure as a director in Ministry of Commerce in Pakistan from 2009 to July 2012.
“Farhan joined hands with officers of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) in sanctioning, granting, approving and disbursing 25 per cent freight subsidy to firms/companies either existing or non-existing against subsidy claims based on the fake/fictitious/forged export documents and through his front man received major share for himself and for his superiors,” according to the charge sheet.
Moreover, FIA alleged that Farhan laundered Rs180-250 million through hundi in his and his family members’ accounts, but mainly to his own in the Dubai branch of Standard Chartered Bank, opened in 2011 through the then associate director of the private banking division at the bank.
As per details of transactions made by Junejo, Rs22.54 million were sent to the SCB Dubai branch on June 13, 2011; Rs15.49 million on June 25, 2011; $150,000 on July 9, 2011; Rs3.79 million on August 15, 2011; Rs2 million on September 26, 2011; Rs25 million on December 15, 2011; Rs 20 million to an account in Geneva, Switzerland on name of Shameem Nabi Sher on February 2, 2012; Rs15 million to the same account in Geneva on February 8, 2012; Rs919,000 to an account in the United States under the name of Rehan Junejo on the same date; Rs8.7 million on February 14, 2012 to an account of Binish Qureshi in the UK and Rs11.98 million on March 13, 2012 to his own account in SCB Dubai branch.
FIA also named another individual, Hanif Khatri, who allegedly opened foreign currency accounts. He is said to have transferred £40,000 to an account under the name of Binish Qureshi in Barclays Bank International London on November 24, 2009, and $30,000 to Noman Junejo’s account in Citi Bank branch of Chicago, Illinois in the US on November 21, 2009.
As per FIA, there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that Farhan while serving as a government official acquired and accumulated huge assets through corrupt practices and also laundered money by sending proceeds of crime from Pakistan to Dubai and from there to his and his family members’ accounts.
On the other hand, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has taken down an article it wrote on Farhan and his wife with help from the campaign group, Transparency International.
Reportedly, BBC only decided to withdraw the article after the family mounted a legal challenge to the broadcaster, suggesting that the British Pakistani businessman and family have already started their fight back. The decision by the BBC to take down its “investigative piece” means that the Junejo family might have served legal notice to them for defamation over inaccurate allegations and releasing personal information.
However, NCA stated that its investigation was underway.