Pakistan is among a number of countries reported to be using luxury properties and precious jewelry as a pretext to funnel “dirty money” to the UK from an official report collected by British authorities.
The ‘National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment 2020’ analysis, compiled by the UK Treasury and Home Office and published this month, finds that criminals continue to purchase high value assets, such as real estate , precious gems and jewels to launder illicit funds, which are transferred from Pakistan to the UK and vice versa.
“This includes the proceeds of corruption and drug trafficking. The risk of money laundering from the UK to Pakistan via smuggled cash and MSB [money service businesses] it also persists, “he reveals.
“In 2018 Pakistan was nominated for the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML / CTF) deficiencies, known as the ‘gray list’, due to widespread CTF deficiencies … Pakistan failed to complete the FATF action plan following the appoint a “gray list” by the deadline of October 2019, “he notes.
Although the FATF acknowledged “notable improvements” in the following months, it also warned that if significant and sustainable progress is not made at the next review, the FATF could invite its members to advise their financial institutions to pay particular attention to trade relations and transactions with Pakistan, the report warns.
“The UK, as a member of the FATF, continues to closely monitor sustained and timely efforts. The UK also continues to support Pakistan, including with capacity building assistance, to help Pakistani authorities comply with the their commitments, “he adds.
In addition to Pakistan, the other countries mentioned in the report include China, Hong Kong, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. The UK property market is seen as a particularly attractive area for dubious flows of overseas funds.
“The large amounts of money that can be transferred in a transaction and the appreciation of value, along with the improved lifestyle, make them very attractive to criminals,” the report notes.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has expanded its use of Unexplained Wealth Orders to freeze several multimillion-dollar homes in London as it investigates how the money used to buy them was obtained. For example, the report highlights how in December 2019 the ANC negotiated an agreement with a Pakistani citizen to return funds and property worth around £ 190 million to Pakistan.
“This success would not have been possible without the close cooperation between British and Pakistani law enforcement agencies,” he concluded.
The regular review of the risks associated with financial transactions finds that the use of complex systems of shell companies registered overseas in secret jurisdictions obscured their ownership and made it difficult to find out where the money really came from.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)