Mega money laundring scam: 9 HBL lower officials, 2 private accused persons remanded into FIA custody
By Jahangir Hayat
LAHORE: In the second mega money laundering scam of over Rs 15 billion
after “serious deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering programme
wherein New York’s banking regulator sought up to $630m in penalties
from Habib Bank Limited (HBL), nine of the lower ranking staff and two
private accused persons have been remanded into the custody of Federal
Investigation Agency (FIA) for three days.
As per details, all the 11 accused including Abdul Qadir, Muhammad
Asif-ur- Rehman Khawaja Adnan , Ejazur Rehman Farhat Ali, Bu Ali Sajid
Sulman and others who were arrested on Monday were produced before FIA
Special Magistrate class first. The FIA authorities demanded the
remand for investigating and recovery from the accused for 14 days,
however, the magistrate approved only three days remand.
The Habib Bank Limited authorities on Sate Bank of Pakistan (SBP)
Financial Monitoring Unit’s pointing out vide letter no FMU/ A&D /947
/2017 the mega money laundering of over $ 110 million, filed a
complaint with FIA vide reference number 0138/03 dated 27.12 2018 for
investigation into the money laundering of over Rs 15 billion.
The amount was converted into dollars and sent to abroad for payments
against the imports.
Strangely the HBL initiated audit to know the fact upon the indication
of SBP and after almost one and a half year filed with FIA for
However, HBL Public Relations officer Ali Habib said that the Bank
filed with the FIA as a complainant in the best interest of the bank
to bring the culprits to the books.
On the other hand, the payments were made in foreign companies
including London Silk General Trading LLC Dera Dubai and others in
The FIA Lahore team consisting assistant directors Malik Tariq
Masood, Muhammad Ahmed Rao, Rana Shawaz Ahmed Khan, Malik Sheraz
Ahmed, inspector Mian Ajmal and others following their utmost
investigations finally registered FIRs under anti money laundering
Earlier, Daily The Business reported that an over Rs12 billion money
laundering has been undertaken by the Habib Bank Limited Import and
Export Hub during the last two years as more than once bills of lading
have been used for making payments in abroad while the State Bank of
Pakistan (SBP) pointed out the illegal practice to the bank.
Reliable sources on the condition of anonymity said that over
$110billion money laundering, the SBP warned the HBL that awakened the
bank management from the deep slumber which prompted the top
management to take action against the lower staff to save their skin.
The sources said explaining the modus operandi said that one bill of
lading have been used many time to make payment in abroad through the
banking system of the HBL branches in Lahore including Krishen Nagar,
Data Darbar, Lake Road and Langa Mandi.
Following the central bank took notice the HBL management involved the
FIA and terminated the central character of the incident Incharge
Import and Export Hub Asif Aziz, the sources informed.
The sources further said that following the incident the bank
management terminated and reprimanded a number of officers and
officials including Lahore Regional Chief Mujtaba Naqvi, however, the
RC following severely censured resigned from the bank and joined
another bank reportedly Bank Alfalah. The sources said that lower
staff was made the escape goat and a number of them including Shahid
Lateef, credit head Imtiaz Ahmed, area managers Sohaib Dar, Khawaja
Adnan, Ejaz, Ferhat Abbas and other were also terminated.
“For the time being get shocked… its a scam of around Rs 12 billion
caught in HBL 15 people including Regional Heads Trade and Retail
Lending, 3 BMS ,3 BOMS, 3 CSO have been terminated. SRC Mujtaba Naqvi
and 2 AMs Mirza Bilal and Junaid-ul-Haq have been reprimanded. About
26 more decisions are coming on Monday. All cases are referred to FIA
for investigation and Bank is a party now after disowning all these
people” this was the message which was circulating in among the
bankers of HBL for a long time.
It was reported that FIA finalising the investigations has arrested
nine bankers and two private people.
The sources said that on the other side important and well-known
business and political people are involved in the mega money
laundering of over Rs 12 billion.
When this scribe contacted HBL marketing head Naveed Asghar and legal
head Tahir Cheema to know the bank version they could not be reached
despite several attempts.