Pakistan Takes Further Steps Against Money Laundering, Terror Finance; Signs MoUs With UK, Others

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been able to collect Rs15 billion (US$107 million) in unpaid taxes (as of April) on assets held abroad.

PKONWEB Report — Pakistan’s Financial Monitoring Units (FMU) and British governments Financial Intelligence Units (FMU) on Thursday signed an agreement to enhance related intelligence sharing in order to counter money laundering and terror financing.

A press release said the FMU in Pakistan and the FIU in the UK had signed an MoU for the establishment of a channel facilitating the efficient exchange of financial intelligence.

Also Read: Did Ishaq Dar Bend Or Break Pakistan, UK Laws On White Collar Crime?

As a result, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) on both sides will now have the opportunity to exchange information and carry out more effective investigations.

Pakistan has also signed MoUs (for mutual legal assistance) with Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, while agreements with China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Malawi are being finalized and are expected to be signed soon.

Earlier this week, Pakistan and the UK signed a one-off memorandum of understanding (MoU)– absence extradition treaty, to start the process of dispatching former finance minister Ishaq Dar back home who faces white collar crime related charges.

Some of these steps are part of Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements and some are additional, said a source.

The government is also detecting untaxed assets held abroad and making headway collecting due taxes on them.

According to a report, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been able to collect Rs15 billion (US$107 million) in unpaid taxes (as of April) on assets held abroad.

Details of over 10,000 properties in Dubai and England held by Pakistanis have been received by FBR, a source said. At least half of the 10,000 properties’ details were previously available but no action was taken, the source said.

Two lists exist with the FBR. One carries details of assets held by politically exposed people (PEP) abroad, and another lists other citizens’ assets abroad, the source added.

These developments come amid the new government’s concurrent steps to meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) mandated conditions against money laundering and terror finance.

The FATF Plenary and Working Group meetings to be held in Orlando on June 16-21, 2019 are likely to decide whether to remove Pakistan from the grey-list or downgrade it further to the black-list based on the assessment report of Asia Pacific Group (APG).

“Pakistan has taken enough steps with regard to anti money laundering and combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in compliance with the FATF requirements to be removed from the grey list,” an official said.