London: Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has arrested a former Pakistani ‘politically exposed person’ in connection with alleged money laundering in the UK believed to be a result of corruption in Pakistan worth around Rs250 million.
Although, the NCA didn’t reveal the name of the arrested person, The News has learnt that the arrested man is Farhan Junejo, former private secretary of late Makhdoom Amin Faheem, former federal minister for commerce, who was wanted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in many cases of money laundering, including a case of corruption in Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Farhan Junejo was appointed as Assistant Commissioner by the Sindh Government in 1990 when his father Nabi Sher Junejo, judge of Anti-Terrorism Court Karachi, was assassinated by terrorists in Karachi. At that time Farhan Junejo was only 20 years old and did not have the required qualification for the post. His name first came to limelight in second tenure of Benazir Bhutto government, 1990-1993, in some land frauds and later he left the country and came back in 2008 and was posted as PS of then Minister Commerce Amin Faheem.
In 2013 the FIA had found evidence of billions of rupees being transferred to accounts abroad that could prove that TDAP officials looted the money. The NCA’s International Corruption Unit said it had arrested the man, in his 40s, and his wife, aged in her 30s, in an investigation supported by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the FIA.
A source in the NCA confirmed that the arrest request was made by the FIA and evidence of money laundered was shown which happened in the last three years. The money was used to buy three properties in the area of Surrey, a posh locality.
The NCA said the couple, who were arrested in Surrey, control a UK property portfolio worth more than £8m for which they appear to have no legitimate source of income. The man and his wife were questioned by NCA officers and have now been released under investigation.
Sources said the couple was arrested three days ago and kept in detention for as many as 36 hours before being released. They were released Sunday morning and six hours later the police issued press release.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shehzad Akbar said that the person detained is a former public office holder, who fled from Pakistan and invested money in London. He said the Pakistani government was assisting the NCA from last seven days, adding that the Pakistani government will request a formal claim if the arrested person’s assets are frozen by the UK government.
Akbar said that over 30 similar cases have been identified in the United Arab Emirates. He refused to give name of the arrested person. “I cannot give you name of the arrested person as it would be unethical, but it’s a great success. It shows that cooperation between UK and Pakistan against dirty money is increasing. Its success of our government,” he told The News.
“The arrest was made due to working partnership between Pakistan and United Kingdom.” The state minister said that two cars worth Rs20 million were recovered from the arrestee, adding that the man invested money in businesses in the UK. “The money was transferred to Switzerland, US and UK from Pakistan via Dubai,” he said.
A trusted source in the FIA said that the arrested person was involved in laundering money worth Rs250 million and the case was unearthed by the FIA three years ago. The money was sent to different destinations to be deposited in five accounts in Dubai, Switzerland, US and Britain.
A report said that the person(s) involved transferred about Rs250 million to Dubai through Hawala/Hundi in various accounts including the largest amounts in UK’s Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). The beneficiaries of all the transfers included the accused and his family.