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Finally, a smoking gun found in Axact scandal

Finally, a smoking gun found in Axact scandal

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) has found a smoking gun in the fake-degree scandal of the Axact company.

The name ‘Ryan Jones’ used in different documents of offshore companies and in correspondence with lawyers in cases against fictitious universities has been identified as that of Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh who had been denying any link with the degree mill.

In a related development, Sheikh has deposited a sworn affidavit before an American court acknowledging the ownership of three offshore companies that he had been denying before Pakistani courts.

The forensic reports submitted along with final challan by FIA offer sufficient evidence to establish that Shoaib Sheikh has been using the pseudonym, Ryan Jones. This has not only been established through digital forensics, the treasure trove of documents further solidified it as the name has been used in papers.

Included among them is an agreement Shoaib and his US lawyer on which Shoaib signed his name above the name of “Ryan Jones” for engaging purely personal services in connection with a request that his name be cleared in a visa security clearance at the US embassy.

A letter dated May 10, 2012 sent to Ryan Jones from a US-based legal firm mentions address of DHA Phase VII, Karachi. Content of the letter is also instructive: “Enclosed please find the Filed Fictitious Name Certificate from the New Castle county Prothonotary in Delaware for the above-reference company…”

The above-referenced company is Tullow Inc., together with that of Mivvel Inc., and Tinko Inc., whose ownerships have already been acknowledged by Sheikh, his sister, Uzma Shaheen and Viqas Atiq in sworn affidavits sent to the Michigan Court that froze the companies’s accounts in a bid to recover fine of Rs2.30 billion for issuing fake degrees to 30000 students in Michigan alone.

In addition to their affidavits, the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, has also confirmed these matters in a letter sent on February 8 this year to FIA. “Regarding financial accounts located in the United States, Axact appears to have set up three primary shell companies in the United States, by the names of Mivvel Inc., Tullow Inc., and Tinko Inc., as well as various tertiary shell companies, to include, but not limited to Blitzace Inc.”

The FBI letter further reads: “Viqas Atiq, the Chief Operating Officer of Axact, holds 49% of the shares of Mivvel Inc. Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh and the Owner/President of Axact, holds 49% of the shares of Tullow and Tinko. With respect to Mivvel Inc., the remaining 51% of the shares belong to Ali Ghaffar Vyajokra, With respect to Tinko and Tullow, the majority shareholders are Zubair Syed (Tullow), ..and Uzma Shaeen (Tinko).”

Examination of forensic documents submitted before the court also indicate that the name Ryan Jones has been used in the correspondence of the above-referenced companies as “authorized representatives” and as “senior manager.” In addition to this, ‘Ryan Jones’ has been used in correspondence with a legal firm engaged for Belford University that came under spotlight in Michigan Court in the fake-degree case.

Investigators term this evidence as a smoking gun. “This is equivalent to a smoking gun which implicates Shoaib to Ryan Jones and in turn Ryan Jones to bank/merchant accounts and company incorporations which Shoaib kept secret and undeclared to any authority in Pakistan,” an official privy to details said.

Importantly none of the revenues and income from these accounts and companies has ever been reported by Shoaib to any authority in Pakistan including State Bank of Pakistan and Federal Board of Revenue.

As a matter of fact, Axact argued in the past that various entities identified by FIA were not owned by Axact or its owners/management including the off-shore companies. Instead, Mivvel, Tullow and Tinko were declared by Axact lawyers as clients/customers who they served as a BPO (Business Processing Outsourcing) provider.

Their claims are in contrast with declaration before Michigan Court where Shoaib Sheikh and Viqas Atiq have admitted being the owners of the companies they have been alleging are customers (Mivvel, Tinko, Tullo). These are the companies that were at the point of sale/source of when the money for fake transactions and extortion were taken from their victims.

The funds received to these shell companies were only transferred to Axact Dubai and Pakistan. Shoaib and Viqas never declared ownership of these companies to the SBP, SECP, FBR etc. These were basically undeclared foreign and off shore companies. Incidentally, the sworn affidavits submitted before Michigan Court were sent during imprisonment, nevertheless, it has been declared in them that the ongoing investigation in Pakistan is unrelated to Mivvel, Tinko and Tullow whose names are included in the FIA challans.

Courtesy : TheNews



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