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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed the Customs department to refer big cases of currency seizure, having possible involvement in terrorism financing, to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) to investigate any links to terrorism financing (TF).

The FBR has issued Customs General Order No 01 of 2023 on Wednesday to issue guidelines for Strengthening Sustainability & Effectiveness of Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter Financing Terrorism (CFT).

The new guidelines shall be observed by the various Customs formations in relation to cases made out against persons on account of predicate offences, as listed in Schedule-I of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, under the Customs Act, 1969.

Money laundering: FBR begins probe against 16 individuals

The directions said that the Customs and CTD shall continue to use the existing inter-agency coordination mechanism, including the Border Task Force (BTF) Forum, for mutual information sharing, cooperation and coordination against organised crimes, including money laundering and terrorism financing.

During the investigation of predicate offences, the investigating officer of Customs will keep the checklist in view while considering whether a case qualifies to be referred to CTD or not.

All cases of currency seizure, emanating from smuggling, misdeclaration or non-declaration of currency, bearer negotiable instruments, gold, jewelry, precious metals, gemstones, narcotics, psychotropic substances, or antiques under the relevant provisions of the Customs Act, 1969, in which, based on the scrutiny of documents, record, and or statements, one or more of the following criteria is/are met, shall be referred on prescribed format to the CTD of the concerned province under intimation to the Director, Directorate of Cross Border Currency Movement (CBCM), the FBR stated.

(i); The accused is member of any of the UN designated entities or proscribed organisations or individuals under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

(ii); The accused is hit by the UN Security Council Resolutions related to countering terrorism and CFT.

(iii); Intelligence/tip-off request for Mutual Legal Assistance or request for cooperation from a Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) in Pakistan or from a foreign jurisdiction is communicated to the Customs officer on duty, on the ground that the smuggling of the seized goods is meant for terrorism financing (TF).

In case of cash, the amount is not consistent with the accused’s purpose, objective and stated activities; receipt of large amounts of cash from unexplained sources; the accused is a close relative of a designated/ proscribed individual and is also suspected to be associated with the business of the designated/ proscribed individual by way of financial or other assistance.

The accused declares a proscribed person as a guarantor/nominee of the individual; media (Broadcast/ Print/ Social) news highlights involvement of the accused in providing financial assistance to designated/ proscribed individual or entity; the accused appears to have conducted cash / gold smuggling on behalf of or at the direction of a designated/ proscribed individual; and during the investigation under the Customs Act, 1969 of a predicate offence under AMLA, 2010 the investigating officer shall remain vigilant to the possibility of TF element in the case and if there is reason to believe that the accused is involved in TF, the case may be referred to CTD for parallel investigation into the TF element, the FBR added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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