In A First, Pakistan to Probe Money Laundering Case Against Chinese Firm

In A First, Pakistan to Probe Money Laundering Case Against Chinese Firm

In a first, Pakistan has launched probe against a Chinese firm in a high-profile money laundering case, according to a media report.

Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) yesterday forwarded the request to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after pressed both by Pakistan and Chinese officials.

Dawn reported that the case is among the most complicated issues faced by the SECP and the commission has remained secretive about the matter for a long time.

It was not even shared with the Finance Minister by the now suspended chairman of the SECP Zafar Hijazi.

Investigations against the Jiangsu Yabaite Technology, listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), were initiated last year after undue foreign inflows were detected in its accounts.

The company told the Chinese regulators that it had received the amount after executing work on the Multan Metro Bus project and the CSRC approached the SECP in December for assistance in information, including certain documents.

However, Hijazi did not refer the case to the FIA or even the finance ministry for almost seven months and the relevant files were managed by only two persons heading the international relations and law departments of the SECP.

Finally, the SECP yesterday forwarded letters to the FIA and provincial authorities along with the information and documents pertaining to the case.

The SECP acknowledged that there were certain issues related to the Chinese company and the Multan project after the CSRC authorised it to share certain segments of its request with the authorities concerned in Pakistan.

A statement released by the SECP said the CSRC was not conducting any investigation into the Multan metro bus project.

Once the SECP would receive the CSRC's investigation report, it would be in a position to assess any possible violation in Pakistan, it said.

During the investigation by the CSRC, the Yabaite China had said that it worked as a subcontractor of the Capital Engineering and Construction Company, a subcontractor itself of a consortium for a section of the project.

He claimed that like the Panama Papers about off-shore wealth had exposed ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family's corruption, the Chinese had exposed Multan metro bus 'fraud' allegedly implicating Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance has also taken notice of the case and summoned the SECP authorities on September 7.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, the committee's chairman, said the SECP had been asked to give a briefing on the project and the inquiry conducted by the Chinese securities regulator.

"China's regulator has investigated the corruption case in Multan metro bus project and sent a letter to the SECP.

Parliament should be briefed on it to make an independent investigation into the matter," he said.

He added that for the first time a foreign country had asked the SECP to investigate an allegation and it would have to respond to the CSRC.

Pakistan and China call themselves all-weather allies and Beijing has invested billions of dollars in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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