FMU reports S.M. Muneer and family for tax evasion, money laundering, unauthorized flight of capital

KARACHI: The Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has reported S.M Muneer of Din Group, and around two dozen of S.M. Muneer’s family members for possible tax evasion, money laundering and unauthorized flight of capital. The family jointly purchased $28.15 million and remitted the same abroad.

S.M Muneer is former President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and also former Chief Executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. He is also the Patron of FPCCI.

The activities of 22 individuals including S.M. Muneer are suspicious as unusual pattern was noticed in their accounts and they are carrying out high value repeated currency exchange transactions in a structured manner and funds are being remitted out to their personal accounts maintained in United Arab Emirates (UAE). All these individuals are family members and linked with Din Group of companies.

Din Group was established in 1952 and it is one of the leading exporters and most well-established business groups of Pakistan with interests in leather, textile, banking, property, chemicals, construction, investments and amusement. It has a combined workforce of 5,000 employees across Pakistan and European markets. Din Group comprises of Din Textile Mills Limited, Din Leather Limited and Din Farm Products. The Group is also dealing in raw skins, chemicals and power generation.

The Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) reports keeping in view the time span and pattern of transactions observed in reported Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) and Currency Transaction Report (CTR), it is apparent that the family members had deliberately structured the transactions to avoid the SBP defined threshold of $50,000 for purchase of foreign currency. As per reported CTRs to FMU, they have jointly purchased approximately $28.153 million during the period June 2015 to December 2017 from Wall Street Exchange Company.

Moreover, the group of family is maintaining their individual and business accounts at Habib Metropolitan Bank. FMU identified total 231 accounts, which are being maintained at different branches of Habib Metropolitan Bank containing 60 business accounts and 171 personal accounts. Out of 60 business accounts 16 accounts are closed.

The personal accounts of the family members contained various joint accounts and foreign currency accounts. Out of 171 personal accounts 132 were local currency accounts while 39 were foreign currency (SD) accounts. Out of 132 local currency accounts 82 accounts are closed. Similarly, out of 39 foreign currency accounts 10 accounts are closed.

According to FMU, the overall transaction pattern reveals that the individuals had withdrawn funds from their local currency accounts and purchased USD from open market in a structured manner, followed by cash deposits into the foreign currency accounts. Eventually, these funds were remitted to United Arab Emirates.

It may be mentioned here that FMU has also reported former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Siraj Kassim Teli; Mirza Ikhityar Baig and many others for possible tax evasion and money laundering.

An official said a large number of reports were forwarded by FMU to Inland Revenue Intelligence and Investigation, but all these cases shelved and none was pursued. There is, however, one exception wherein Inland Revenue made a recovery from Dawlance.

The official said the trade bodies and market associations were playing a very negative role, and patronizing the tax evaders, money launderers and smugglers. The official said these trade bodies and market associations were committing financial terrorism.

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