The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has booked estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and his son, Ali Tareen, for fraud and money laundering, it emerged on Wednesday.
According to the FIRs dated March 22, copies of which are available with Dawn.com, two separate cases were registered under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating of public shareholders) and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with sections 3/4 of the Anti Money Laundering Act.
Responding to the development, Tareen lashed out at the FIA and said the accusations against him and his family were "totally fabricated".
"I have already submitted a detailed reply along with concrete evidence in response to the FIA notice. Unfortunate to see them go on another smear campaign against me & my family without establishing anything illegal," he said.
One of the complaints states that Tareen fraudulently misappropriated shareholder's money after his company — JDW group — transferred Rs3.14 billion to an associated private company identified as Farooqi Pulp Private Limited (FPML). The FIR stated that the private company is owned by his sons and close relatives.
"The transfers, especially after FY 2011-2012, were patently fraudulent investments which ultimately translated into personal gains for the family member of the JDW CEO," the FIR said.
It said that during this period, Tareen, his son and other family member purchased cash (US$) from the open market in Lahore in a "structured manner".
"Subsequently, in 2016, Ali Khan Tareen remitted approximately US$7.4 Million to the United Kingdom for purchasing properties (to be investigated in detail during the course of investigation) which makes them liable for Anti-Money Laundering investigation," it said.
The FIA stated that Tareen, his son, son-in-law Waleed Akbar Faruki and Shahid Akbar Faruki beneficially controlled FPML and personally benefitted from this scheme.
In the second FIR, the investigation agency said "voluminous withdrawals amounting to at least Rs2.2 billion were fraudulently and dishonestly made through a trusted cash rider." It noted that Amir Waris, employed as a cashier at JDW's Corporate Head Office, deposited large amounts into the personal and business accounts of Tareen and his family members.
"This modus operandi of cash-based misappropriation and money laundering was employed to break the onwards money trail of deposits into personal and business accounts of the accused Tareen and family," it said.
It also stated that Rana Nasim Ahmed, JDW CEO, was also given large amounts from the company's accounts to the tune of Rs600 million. "He claims these humungous amounts as salary, bonuses and 'gentlemanly-agreed' benefits."
FIA summons top officials of eight sugar groups
Earlier this week, the FIA summoned the chief financial officers (CFOs) and heads of sales of eight major sugar groups in connection with the ‘speculative price-hike’ of the sweetener.
“The FIA has summoned the chief financial officers (CFOs) and heads of sales of PTI’s Jahangir Tareen’s JDW Sugar Mills for April 2, Maryam Nawaz and Sharif family’s Chaudhry Sugar Mills on March 31, Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz’s Ramzan Sugar Mills on April 2, Madina Sugar Mills of Kissan group on April 7, Hamza Sugar Mills on April 8 and three others in the sugar scam. The owners of these sugar groups will be summoned at the later stage,” an official source told Dawn.
The FIA has recently detected Rs110 billion earning by the sugar mafia during the last one year through ‘speculative pricing’ and it initiated action against those involved in it.
Prior to this, the FIA had also registered an FIR against Tareen’s JDW group and Gourmet Bakers & Sweets Pvt Ltd, Lahore, under sections 420, 468, 471 and 109 of the PPC, read with sections 3/4 of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.
Sugar probe report
Last year, a sugar inquiry commission, headed by FIA chief Wajid Zia and comprising officials from other institutions, was set up on the orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan to investigate the reasons behind the soaring price and shortage of the commodity in the country.
The commission's report, which was made public by the government in April, exposed multiple wrongdoings within the sugar industry and implicated key government and opposition political figures, including Tareen, PML-Q MNA Moonis Elahi, federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif's son.
The report detailed how over the years sugar mill owners had manipulated the market to make windfall profits amounting to billions of rupees, shedding light on the nexus between these owners and various government officials that led to unregulated practices bypassing laws and often exploiting the farmers.
It also revealed how the ‘sugar cartel’ comprising 88 mills had cheated sugarcane growers and consumers at every step starting from the procurement of cane, production of sugar, sale in the local market and export, all of which led to price hike of sugar as well as billions of rupees of tax evasion.