Court indicts four moneychangers


KARACHI – A district and sessions court indicted four moneychangers on Thursday in a money laundering case. District and Sessions Judge Hassan Feroz read out the charges levelled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against the arrested moneychangers, namely Hanif Kalia, Abdul Munaf Kalia, Javed Khanani and Atif Aziz Polani.
However, the accused men denied the charges. The court then issued summons for February 19 to the complainant and witnesses for recording their statements and evidences. Hanif Kalia, Munaf Kalia and Khanani were arrested by the FIA in November 2008 for illegal transfer of American dollars worth billions of rupees, whereas Polani was arrested in 2009.
It was believed that the transfer of dollars by different moneychangers using channels such as Havala and Hundi had exacerbated the steep increase in the rate of the US dollar in Pakistan’s currency markets and the smuggling of foreign currency had depleted the country’s foreign exchange reserves from over $16 billion in 2007 to below $7 billion in 2008. The State Bank of Pakistan chairman had written a letter to the FIA in 2008, asking the agency to investigate illegal money laundering and money transfer from Pakistan to other countries.
After conducting an investigation, the FIA booked the accused men on charges of money laundering and illegal transfer of money abroad. Hanif Kalia is currently at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre under police supervision on grounds of health complications, whereas the other accused men are at the Central Jail Karachi. Four other men, co-accused in the case, were declared absconders and are yet to be arrested.