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Bid to smuggle foreign currency foiled

Updated July 17, 2013

ISLAMABAD, July 16: The customs authorities at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport foiled a bid to smuggle foreign currency worth about Rs1 million.

According to the customs department, this was the seventh seizure of foreign currency before being smuggled out from the airport since May 2012.

The latest seizure on Monday night involved 273,000 Saudi riyals and 80,000 UAE dirhams.

The customs authorities arrested one passenger and his agent after the recovery of the cash along with documents pertaining to ‘havala’ transactions.

According to the customs officials, smuggling of currency is not only a major concern for Pakistan but also for other developed countries since the unaccounted money may be used for perpetrating organised crimes and terrorism.

Pakistan is facing a serious problem of flight of foreign currency to other countries on which the State Bank has also shown concerns.

In the recent years, smuggling of bulk currency has become a preferred method for drug trafficking organisations and other transnational criminal enterprises to move illicit proceeds across the border.

In Pakistan, the main source of transferring money abroad is “hundi or hawala’ a phenomenon in which not only currency but the value of currency is transferred to another country within a few minutes.

In ‘hawala’, smuggling of currency often takes place when persons engaged in the illegal business offset mutual transactions carried out during a specific period.