Karachi: In a significant move to combat trade-based money laundering, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Karachi (I&I) Karachi has initiated a sweeping crackdown against importers and Customs agents suspected of being involved in illicit financial activities.

The operation has uncovered a network of illegal exchange companies, commonly known as “hundi/hawala,” facilitating massive money laundering to and from China.

This groundbreaking investigation has already led to the lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) against M/s Mirza Collections under various sections of the Customs Act and the Money Laundering Act.

The I&I Karachi, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, has been intensifying efforts to curb financial crimes in the region.

Director Karachi Engr. Habib had assigned the task to Additional Director Afzaal Watoo and Deputy Director Saud Hasan. After meticulous investigation, they identified several importers and Customs agents allegedly engaging in trade-based money laundering practices. These unscrupulous entities have been exploiting the trade system to launder substantial sums of money, causing significant damage to the country’s economy.

A senior official from the I&I Karachi, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that the illegal exchange companies (hundi/hawala) have played a pivotal role in facilitating the movement of illicit funds between Pakistan and China. The estimated scale of money laundering involved is staggering, prompting authorities to take immediate action to halt the nefarious activities.

The recent FIR lodged against M/s Mirza Collections marks the first step in what is expected to be a series of prosecutions against those implicated in the illegal financial network. The FIR encompasses multiple sections of the Customs Act and the Money Laundering Act, indicating the gravity of the offenses committed.

Authorities are now working diligently to gather additional evidence against the accused to build strong cases that will withstand legal scrutiny. The I&I Karachi is committed to bringing the perpetrators of this sophisticated money laundering scheme to justice and dismantling the entire network, regardless of their positions or affiliations.