Money laundering scandal: FIA seeks Summit Bank's equity details from SBP, SECP

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probing the alleged money laundering case worth Rs35 billion against 13 firms including Zardari Group and Omni firm has approached State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Security Exchange Company of Pakistan (SECP) to seek details of Summit Bank’s equity and names of chief executive officers (CEOs) of the said beneficiary firms, it emerged on Monday. This exercise by the federal body has been launched following the directives of Supreme Court, which has taken a suo motu notice of alleged money laundering after a total of 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts were opened in three banks — Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Ltd. The FIA said the money was transferred in the accounts of the firms of a United Arab Emirates national Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah, who is the chairman of the Summit Bank’s board of directors. Lootah is considered to be a major beneficiary of these suspicious transactions, as Rs7 billion were transferred to his account, sources told Dawn. Lootah is said to hold 58 per cent shares in Summit Bank. The UAE national was supposed to submit Rs17 billion as equity, while Rs7 billion were transferred into his account apparently for this purpose. However, now these Rs7 billion have been frozen under the directions of the Supreme Court in order to prevent the same from turning into equity of the bank. Being a foreign national, Lootah was supposed to bring money from abroad. The FIA has sought clarification from SBP as to whether a foreign national may maintain equity of the bank locally in view of the concerned laws and SBP’s policy. Separately, the FIA has also approached SECP to provide details about CEOs and account operators of the beneficiary firms during the specific time when this suspicious transaction was made in order to issue notices to them in light of directions of the apex court to expedite the probe.

 
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