Rs19 billion bank accounts of Bashir Dawood, wife frozen

FBR launches probe into alleged money laundering case;  action result of misunderstanding, says source close to Bashir Dawood

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s first ever biggest money laundering case has surfaced against renowned business tycoon and his family members whereby the tax authorities have frozen bank accounts worth Rs19 billion on allegation of money laundering after getting instructions from the Special Judge of the FBR at Karachi, The News has learnt exclusively.

After insertion of fiscal offences into the amended Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, the FBR’s Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation was granted powers to investigate alleged tax evasion for purpose of money laundering as and when Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) forwarded cases to them for probe under laid down procedures.

According to official documents and registration of FIR against Bashir Dawood, s/o Suleman Dawood and Mrs Mariam Dawood, w/o Bashir Dawood with address of B-197, Block 7/8, Kathiawar Housing Society, Karachi, the FBR has also issued show cause notices under Section 9 (1) of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 in complaint number 01/2016 lodged under Section 203/192A of the Income Tax Ordinance. It was stated in the court of Special Judge (Customs, Taxation and Anti Smuggling) Karachi that it came on the record that transactions under their control in bank accounts maintained at Habib Metropolitan Bank Karachi with effect from 01-01-2012 to 20-11-2016 are believed to be proceed of crime and allegedly involved in money laundering in terms of sections inter-alia 3 & 4 of Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 and after complying with the requirement of Section 8, the FBR sought details of sources of income from five bank accounts numbers (1) 6-1-1-20614-714-432052 (2) 6-1-1-20436-714-432052 (3) 6-1-1-20614-714-432060 (4) 6-1-1-20436-714-432060 with account titled Mariam Dawood and/or Bashir Dawood and (5) account number 6-1-120311-714-140161 with account title Muhammad Bashir Suleman.

The FBR’s investigation showed that the sale of M/S Dawlance Electronics Pvt Ltd to an offshore company M/S Pan Asia Equity Limited, British Virgin Island, was worth millions of dollars so they asked the concerned persons for providing details of the owners/directors of the buyer company, original sale agreement, amount for which M/S Dawlance Electronics was sold and copy of proceeds rationalisation certificate in lieu of sale of the company. 

First, around 3 million dollars were transferred outside but all of a sudden without doing any value addition the FBR found that money of over $90 million was allegedly transferred without paying due taxes. It raised eyebrows of the FBR’s investigators.

The FBR asked the relevant persons to provide documentary evidence showing permission of Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) regarding sale of M/S Dawlance to M/S Pan Asia Equity and details of taxes paid by all companies during the period from 2012 to 2016.

The FBR filed reference in the court of Special Judge of Taxation at Karachi after which the court instructed the FBR to freeze bank accounts worth billions of rupees for one month period.

The FBR has now called upon through show cause notice as required under Section 9 (1) of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, 2010 to show cause within 30 days of the receipt of this notice as to why all or any of the said amount/transaction that have been credited or debited or derived from bank accounts should not be declared to be properties that are proceeds of crime and/or are involved in money laundering and forfeited to the federal government.

In case, the reply is not received within the stipulated period, the federal government shall proceed in accordance with the procedures laid out in the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010. This correspondent made efforts to get version of Bashir Dawood but could not manage to get access to him. A source close to Bashir Dawood, however, told this correspondent that the FBR action is a result of misunderstanding. He said the court decision will come in their favour soon. He said all the transactions were conducted by Bashir Dawood and his wife in accordance with the law. He said both of them always pay tax due to them.