The government has identified more than 5,000 fake accounts which were allegedly used for money laundering, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said on Monday.
Akbar, flanked by Senator Faisal Javed and Adviser to PM Iftikhar Durrani, held a press conference to share the progress made by the assets recovery unit — a joint team of officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue and watchdogs formed to bring back illegal money stashed abroad.
"More than $1 billion have been laundered abroad through these fake accounts opened under the names of small vendors," he revealed.
"These figures have been traced out after investigating overseas properties in excess of $1 million held by Pakistani nationals," he added.
The assistant said that the unit was currently going after the 'big fishes' only and the rest of offenders "will be taken care of on a later stage".
He told the media that the recovery unit — which is currently focusing on 10 countries — has found that assets worth $5.3 billion were accumulated abroad through alleged money laundering. "The amount translates into Rs700 billion," he said, adding that further details of all Iqama holders were being collected with the help of Dubai authorities as well as local resources.
"They take Iqamas to conceal their looted money abroad," he said, explaining that when Pakistani authorities sought records of Pakistani nationals living abroad, the names of Iqama holders were not included in the lists.
"The bad news [for money launderers] is that we are gathering details of all Iqama holders [too]," he added.
The accounts and foreign properties were found during investigations into ongoing cases. The details of each and every case will be shared with media when corruption references will be filed properly, Iftikhar Durrani added.
"This [$5.3bn] amount is a small estimated fraction of the ill gotten money laundered abroad," said Akbar.