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FBR ‘delays’ action against money launderers for one year

FBR ‘delays’ action against money launderers for one year

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has reportedly delayed action for more than a year against the money launderers, pointed out by the State Bank’s Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU).

The SBP’s FMU accused more than 330 of money laundering, out of which 80 per cent are business tycoons and 20pc influential politicians.

The FMU generates monthly reports about suspicious transactions which are shared with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), and Customs Intelligence.

In June last year, the government extended the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, 2010, to the Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) Directorate of Inland Revenue. As a result, the directorate received more than 210 suspicious transactions reports (STRs) between July 2016 and June 2017 related to tax and various duties. Other cases were sent to the FIA, NAB and ANF for investigation.

The I&I directorate can initiate proceedings under the AML Act. If a person admits to having evaded tax, he or she will have to deposit the due taxes in the respective regional tax office (RTO). However, in case the person is not willing to pay the tax, criminal proceedings can be started against him/her under the law.

So far, according to the source, criminal proceedings were only initiated in two Karachi-based cases. In one case, the FBR recovered an amount of Rs6.204bn in a court of law.

Interestingly, out of the 330 individuals more than 105 are not even national tax number (NTN) holders. Despite this, the source says, the FBR is reluctant to initiate probe into these potential cases of tax evasion. The breakdown showed that 57 individuals were based in Karachi. Of them, 22 were top businessmen while 12 belonged to political families.