RAWALPINDI, Sept 18: There seems no end to people falling for Ponzi schemes.
In the latest case, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating an Elixir Group for defrauding hundreds of people of Rs4.5 billion in the name of ‘Islamic investment’.
Dawn has learnt that the group had been in the ugly business for almost three years and the FIA set its sights on the group only last month after one of its victims, Raja Sohail, filed a complaint and a case was registered against the group and its 12 directors.
One director, identified as Asif Javaid alias Maulvi Ibrahim, has been arrested since FIA’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) started probing the Elixir Group, attractively named for high profit seekers, after August 15.
Search is on for the rest 11 directors who quietly disappeared after their alleged collaborator in the crime was arrested.
FIA has identified them as Abdul Rehman, Mufti Usama Zia, Umar Lalika, Nasir Lalika, Ghulam Qadir, Abdul Rafay, Shahid Aziz, Mufti Bashir, Maulvi Abdul Khaliq, Nasir Ali and Chaudhry Sohail, and put their names on the Exit Control List to prevent them from fleeing the country.
Meanwhile, the investigations have revealed that the Elixir Group was neither registered as an investment company with the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan nor it possessed a license from the State Bank of Pakistan to act as one.
Other documents purportedly issued by the two regulatory bodies authenticating the otherwise black business of Elixir were found to be bogus.
A friend helped victim Raja Sohail, a resident of Tench Bhatta, register a case against the Elixir Group with the FIA.
“We will look into all aspects of the scam after some more arrests are made,” said an FIA official when asked whether any part of the billions that the group collected from the faithful in the name of Islamic investment went to fund the militancy in the country.