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FIA raids against money changers continue

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency yesterday continued its raids at the main money changers firms, scanned bank transactions and arrested several individuals suspected to be involved in transfer of foreign exchange to foreign countries through unlawful means.

Pakistan’s central bank suspended yesterday the license of a prominent foreign exchange company as part of an investigation into illegal transfers abroad that comes as the country faces a sharp fall in foreign reserves.

Pakistan is struggling with a balance of payments crisis and the rupee has lost about 24 percent against the dollar this year. There have been reports of people making heavy withdrawals from their foreign currency accounts and sending money abroad.

Police said on Saturday investigators had arrested four foreign currency dealers on suspicion of illegally sending money abroad. Among the four were two of the top officials of the Khanani and Kalia International company.

The State Bank of Pakistan said yesterday it had suspended the company’s license with immediate effect “for a period of 30 days pending further investigation/notice, for violation of … rules and regulations.”

Famous forex dealer Munaf Kalia, Javed Khanani and others accused of being involved in the scandal of illegally transferring billions of dollars abroad were handed over on remand to FIA yesterday. Kalia was presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate, Muhammad Omar Awan at the City Court in Karachi, when the court ordered giving him on three-day transit remand to FIA for taking him to Lahore during this time for further grilling.

Lahore Special Magistrate handed over Khanani, Tariq Mahmood and Rustam Ali in the custody of FIA on four-day physical remand, while the accused would again be presented in the court of Lahore Area Magistrate on Nov. 14.

Sunday remained a hectic day for Interior Ministry’s Adviser Rehman Malik as he summoned top officials of FIA to trace all those people who were in the recent past involved in foreign exchange transfer to other countries. An official of Interior Ministry told “some politicians and bureaucrats too are found involved in this scam from various banks and top money changers.”

Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, had ordered the arrest of several officials of Bank of Punjab which was reportedly involved in money laundering during the tenure of Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.

Courtesy: Arab News

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Azhar Masoodhttp://
Azhar Masood is Controller of News in PTV, and Chief Instructor of PTV Academy, working for Arab News. He has Covered Iraq War from Baghdad for CNN, BBC, FOX News, and Al-Jazeera and other regional channels. He covered conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina. He interviewed Yasir Arafat of Palestine, Paul Wolfoweit, Prime Minister Jean Ghteyan of Canada, Dr. Amar Musa of Egypt, Mr. Haris Slajic, Prime Minister of Bosnia Dr. Akbar Ali Vallayati, former Foreign Minister of Iran, President Kumaratunge of Sri Lanka, Mr. Kumar Su Bramanyem, Director of National Defence Institute of India, Mr. Hamid Karzai President of Afghanistan, Dr. Ahmad Chalabi of Iraq National Congress, Mr. Hoshyar Zubari, Vice President Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq
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