FIA sends notices to 100 Pakistani investors in Dubai real estate

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KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Anti-Corruption Wing has sent notices to 100 rich Pakistanis, who own properties in Dubai to investigate money laundering from Pakistan to Dubai.

The people who were sent notices include politicians, businessmen and government employees.

FIA sources told that the investigation was started against them in 2015 by former Sindh FIA director Shahid Hayat but the inquiry was stopped because of some influential people who did not want the FIA to probe such matters.

The sources further said that FIA Director General Bashir Memon constituted a five-member investigation team to investigate Pakistani real estate investors in Dubai, who had invested their money in Dubai over the period of last four-five years. The team comprised FIA Anti-Corruption Wing Director Younus Chandio, Assistant Director Ali Murad, Assistant Director Saeed Memon, Inspector Nabeel and Dilawar.

The FIA team, led by Director Zaheer Ahmed, presented a list of 100 people who own properties in Dubai, and explained that the list was a part of an inquiry conducted by the FIA’s Karachi office. While presenting the list, the FIA director said that it was yet to be determined whether the property owners were residents of Pakistan or non-residents.

The sources further said that notices have been issued to the property owners according to the list prepared by former Sindh director and they were hoping that the FIA will investigate the rich politicians, businessmen and the bureaucrats.

According to a rough estimate, Pakistani rich people have purchased worth $8 billion properties in Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE in the last four-five years.

A local TV channel has disclosed that Pakistanis have bought properties worth an estimated Rs 1.1 trillion in the heart of Dubai in the past one-and-a half-decade. Interestingly, the majority of them did not mention these properties in their annual returns and were said to be moving their assets out of the country to avoid being caught in the event of a serious crackdown on the money unaccounted for.

According to the TV channel, more than 7,000 extremely rich Pakistanis bought luxury residential villas, flats, and estates in 12 renowned localities in the Emirati capital. The documents contain particulars of some 34,000 rich families from 118 countries.

All stories came out at a time when the country’s top court has directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), the Foreign Office (FO) and the Federal Investigative Authority (FIA) to share their information about the foreign bank accounts and assets held by Pakistani citizens.

Sources said, “All the investors had violated the Foreign Assets’ (Declaration) Regulation, 1972 and not one of them has reported his/her foreign investments before the SBP.”

However, in the ongoing investigation, the FIA was able to trace only 100 investors in the past two and a half years. The regulators — FBR, FIA, SECP and SBP — failed to question the legitimacy of the transfer of funds to buy those properties and no action has been taken yet.

TFD

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