By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, Dec 24 (IANS) A British government report has revealed that illegal money from Pakistan has continued to make its way into the UK and vice-versa, without any hindrance as “corrupt foreign elites continue to be attracted to the UK property market, especially in London, to disguise their corruption proceeds”.
The report titled “National Risk Assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing 2020”, released by the UK’s Treasury and Home Office, has mentioned countries including China, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Russia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the top hotspots from where the most flow of money is processed and routed.
“The UK continues to have close economic links to Pakistan, including significant remittance flows between both jurisdictions, which according to estimated equated to approximately $1.7 billion in 2017,” the report revealed.
“Economic and cultural ties also enable and disguise illicit funds to be transferred between the UK and Pakistan, including through illegal informal value transfers,” it added.
The report maintained that high profile people from Pakistan are buying high value assets in the UK and elements from UK are buying high value assets in Pakistan, using their “dirty money”.
“Criminals continue to purchase high value assets, such as real estate, precious gems and jewellery to launder illicit funds which are transferred from Pakistan to the UK and vice-versa.
“This includes proceeds from corruption and drug-trafficking,” the report added.
It also said that the risk of case-based money laundering from the UK to Pakistan via smuggled cash and Money Service Business (MSBs) also persists.
In 2017, Pakistan was nominated to the global watchdog on terrorist financing and money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing deficiencies, called the grey list.
The UK, being a member of the FATF, has stated that it continues to closely monitor for sustained and timely efforts from the Pakistani side.
“The UK also continues to support Pakistan, including with capacity building assistance, to help Pakistani authorities meet their commitments.
“Joint operations between the National Crime Agency and Pakistani authorities to tackle illicit finance threat have benefited from good levels of cooperation,” the report added.
However, the revelations in the report raises serious questions over Pakistan’s claims of successful curb on money laundering and terrorist financing.
By Hamza Ameer