–PM’s special asst on accountability says 5,000 fake bank accounts were used to launder money to Dubai and other countries
–Govt collecting details of all Iqama holders from Dubai authorities, talks also underway with other govts to freeze assets of suspected launderers
ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday claimed that around Rs700 billion had been laundered to 10 countries through 5,000 fake bank accounts, adding that it is preparing corruption references against those involved in the crime.
Addressing a press conference along with Senator Faisal Javed and PM’s Media Adviser Iftikhar Durrani, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar shared the progress made by the assets recovering unit — a joint platform of officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to bring back illegal money stashed abroad.
“Assets worth $5.3 billion were made in Dubai alone through alleged money laundering. The amount translates into Rs700bn,” Shahzad said, adding that further details of all Iqama holders were being collected with the help of Dubai authorities as well as the local mechanism.
“$1.5bn properties bought in Dubai are a small estimated fraction of the ill gotten money [laundered abroad],” said Akbar, adding that those who have stashed money in Dubai and European banks will not be able to escape the crackdown.
“Initially, we are chasing people who posses assets above $1 million,” he stated.
‘HIDING BEHIND IQAMAS’:
Elaborating on the Iqamas obtained by politicians, Akbar said, “There are two kinds of Iqama holders — one kind is labourers and those who work hard and the other is ministers whose details are hard to find.”
“The hardest part is identifying the real suspects as those who hold Iqamas hide their identities,” he added.
“Some people have bought properties in the names of their drivers and gardeners. When we investigate, we find out that they are the employees of big people,” he said. He added that Pakistan would have been economically stable if the money had not been laundered from the country.
Akbar said the names of those accused of money laundering would be placed in the Exit Control List (ECL) to stop them from fleeing the country while talks were underway with some countries regarding freezing of assets bought with laundered money.
“We are also in talks with Britain in this regard. The foreign leadership is cooperating because it is for the first time that the Pakistani leadership is itself not corrupt. When they saw that our leadership is clean, they started cooperating,” Akbar told the media.
Taking an aim at Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Akbar said, “An angel comes and deposits money into people’s accounts and then he has the audacity to say, in the TV interview, to corroborate the charges.”
He continued that the probe into the Sharifs’ Hill Metal Company is in its concluding phase and it was found that its money was transferred into Nawaz Sharif’s WAPDA Town Lahore bank account.
Referring to the money laundering case involving Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders, Akbar, who is a former deputy prosecutor of NAB, said that evidences against the party were shared with the National Crime Agency (NCA).
A meeting with Swiss officials is also expected by the end of November which will further expose the corruption of political leaders, Akbar hinted during the presser.
Addressing reporters, PM’s Media Adviser Iftikhar Durrani claimed that properties worth $15 billion were made overseas by Pakistanis in the last decade.