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FBR entering second stage of probe into Panamagate scam

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue is entering the second stage of investigation against 400 individuals whose names appeared in the Panama Papers leaks in April.

On the other hand, the FBR’s Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation (DII), established three months ago, has started registration of cases of money laundering, income tax/sales tax evasion and violation of excise laws. It has registered the first-ever biggest money laundering case involving billions of rupees against a business tycoon whose name surfaced in the Panama leaks.

A senior official told Dawn on Friday: “Now FBR is entering into enforcement stage on cases coming in purview of Panamagate.”

The FBR issued notices to hundreds of people, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children — Hassan, Hussain and Maryam — in September after growing pressure from opposition parties on the issue of Panama leaks.

FBR spokesman Dr Iqbal told Dawn that in the enforcement stage, action was taken on a case-to-case basis against those who did not respond to the notices issued to them.

“In enforcement stage, penal action can be taken, penalties can be fixed and cases can be sent to special judge,” he said.

In the notices served on over 400 individuals, the board had asked them to send within 30 days their replies regarding ownership of their offshore companies and sources of money to purchase them.

Before the establishment of the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation, the FBR official said, the cases of money laundering and violation of excise laws were sent to the Federal Investigation Agency for investigation.

“After insertion of fiscal offences into the amended Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act-2010, the DII has been given powers to investigate alleged tax evasion for the purpose of money laundering as and when the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of the State Bank of Pakistan forward cases to the FBR for investigation,” he added.

He said that following recent amendments to the AML Act, the FBR had been empowered to take up cases of tax evasion and violation of excise laws and issue show-cause notices under Section 9 (1) of the Act.

In case, the reply is not received within the required 30 days, the federal government can proceed in accordance with the procedures laid out in the AML Act.

In reply to a question, the FBR official said the registration of a case against industrialist Bashir Daud, owner of United Refrigerators Company, and his wife Maryam Daud was a big achievement because it was allegedly the biggest-ever money laundering case since the establishment of the directorate.

The tax authorities have already frozen their bank accounts worth Rs19 billion on charges of money laundering after getting instructions from the FBR’s special judge in Karachi.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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