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LAHORE: Illegal foreign currency business is thriving under the garb of real estate deals, said sources from the currency market.

Those involved in the illegal currency business, as and when intercepted by the relevant authority, challenge lawful action against them by claiming that they were owners of the foreign currency obtained after sale of their landed property.

One standard plea taken by them is that the purchaser of their landed property was an overseas Pakistani, who has made payment in foreign currency instead of Pakistani currency.

In most of the cases, said sources, the FIA raids after receiving information about bringing in the foreign currency from the tribal areas. However, soon they recover and confiscate the illegal foreign currency, the claimant turns up with the abovementioned plea.

But the deputy commissioners of relevant districts deny any such alleged deal when the concerned investigation agency officials approach for the confirmation of the same, sources asserted.

They said most of the sale deeds against the sale consideration is claimed to be in the form of foreign currency are proved fake, as no official record is ever existed is the office of Sub-Registrar of the concerned districts.

It may be noted that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued guidelines under the Protection of Economic Reforms Act that any person carrying foreign currency notes exceeding US$10,000 or equivalent shall ensure that such acquisition of foreign currency is acquired through authorized sources and the funds for such acquisition are legitimate.

In case of failure to prove these two requirements, the person shall be liable for legal action under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and Anti Money Laundering Act or any other law relating to these offences.

To conduct a legal business of foreign currency, said official sources, a person has to seek permission and authorization from the SBP.

Sources said most of the persons involved in illegal foreign currency business are found unable to produce any such permission or authorization and instead, they take the plea that they have received such foreign currency as a sale consideration which on inquiry is proved unsubstantiated and groundless.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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