FIA seizes crypto accounts, opens money laundering probe against holders

Says 1,000 Pakistanis invested $20b in digital money which is also causing dollar shortage 

By: 24 News      Published: 03:44 PM, 23 Dec, 2021
Representational image
Representational image

The Federal Investigation Agency has seized 1,064 cryptocurrency accounts across the country and registered cases against the account holders for indulging in illegal trade, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The FIA sources informed on Thursday that the government has decided to launch a probe into the cryptocurrency accounts of Pakistanis as many of them are possibly laundering their money through this medium. 

The FIA would also detect the money trail needed to buy the digital money. It will see what ways have been adopted to buy cryptocurrency and it will also probe whether the money was white or black. 

According to the FIA, more than 1,000 Pakistanis have invested $20 billion in cryptocurrency which is also causing dollar shortage in the country.

Yesterday, the FIA Cybercrime Wing seized 1,064 cryptocurrency accounts. It said that in cryptocurrency, Pakistanis did 2,923 transactions of worth $51.1 million.

According to the Circular No. 3 of the State Bank of Pakistan 2018, the buying and selling of cryptocurrency is outlawed in Pakistan.

President FPCCI Nasir Hayat Maggon on Wednesday advised the government to allow cashing of the cryptocurrency in the country as Pakistanis were hoarding $20 million in digital currency.

The president of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry was of the view that the government should legalize the cryptocurrency in the country as Pakistan comes on No 3 in the list of countries doing business in digital money

He informed that 20 million dollars of Pakistanis have been put in cryptocurrency. People go to Dubai to cash their digital assets, it’s better if government allows cashing of digital money in the country, Maggon added.

On Oct 20, the Sindh High Court ordered the federal government to regulate the cryptocurrency as well as bitcoins in three months.

During the hearing of a petition filed by a citizen named Waqar Zaka against the ban imposed by the government on the Digital Cryptocurrency, the court also directed the government to submit to it a report on the issue in three-month time.

The SHC also ordered the constitution of a high-level committee under the federal secretary of finance which would consult all the stakeholders before taking steps for the regulation of the currency.

It directed that the representatives of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), ministries of law and IT be also included in the committee.

 Reporter Saud Butt