ISLAMABAD - As part of its ongoing crackdown against money laundering and dollar hoarding, the Federal Investigation Agency has raided at least three different places in the capital and seized currency of worth millions of rupees.

A team of FIA’s Islamabad Zone made inspection at three offices operated by currency exchange companies in Islamabad’s F-10 Markaz and Blue Area.

A statement issued by the office of FIA Director Islamabad Wisal Fakhar Sultan said that officials first seized record, cell phones, and foreign as well as Pakistani currency of worth millions of rupees from these outlets for inspection. However, the record of the two dealers was found to be maintained and in order while the third was allegedly found in committing negligence. Criminal action is being taken against the outlet found in violating the law, an official said.

Agency raids offices of 3 currency exchange companies

Earlier this month, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that FIA had been directed to take action against dollar hoarders after exchange rate of Dollar against Rupee kept on increasing despite government assurances that it would not devalue Pakistani currency further. “Government has directed FIA to launch a full-fledged operation against dollar hoarding, and speculative currency trade. The operation is being launched in coordination with State Bank of Pakistan and Ministry of Finance, he had said.

In its first raid, FIA seized a sum of Rs 4.3 million from a currency exchange outlet in F-10 Markaz. According to FIA, it made an inspection at Speed Enterprises, a franchise of Paracha Currency Exchange Company, under the search warrants.

FIA seized currency in Pakistan rupees, buying as well as sale vouchers, money gram vouchers, cell phones and cheque books from the outlet through seizure memo and in the presence of market representatives. Being franchise, the currency dealer sold all foreign currencies till closing time and provided the vouchers of currencies. However, he could not give any plausible answer about the excess currency due to which said currency along with record has been taken into possession through seizure memo, the official said. The excess amount matter will be referred to State Bank of Pakistan for inquiry, the FIA said.

In another raid, FIA made an inspection at Blue Area’s Royal Enterprises, also a franchise of Praracha Currency Exchange Company. Under the search warrants, shop was searched and currencies, cell phones of the manager and employees, sale/purchase vouchers, stock register, balance sheet and other relevant registers were taken into possession by FIA for further examination.

FIA found that coffers of outlet contained 6,960 Saudi Riyals, 1,000 Euros, 2,640 British Pounds Sterling, 3,100 Australian Dollars, 5,030 USD, 6,335 UAE Dirhams, 100 Qatari Riyals, 401 Chinese Yuan and Rs 21, 60, 000. “The above currencies were as per stock registers, and buying/sale vouchers but the closing was not made,” the statement said adding that as a result, these currencies were taken into possession for further inquiry.

 FIA also conducted inspection at International Exchange Company Private Limited in Islamabad’s Blue Area. As per search warrants of the said shop, search was conducted and no illegal stock of USD or rate violation was found, FIA said. However, all record was scrutinized on spot and all the currencies were found as per stock register.