FIA launches money laundering probe against TikTok star Hareem Shah

Published January 12, 2022
A screengrab from a viral video in which TikTok star Hareem Shah is seen saying she had travelled with a significant amount of cash from Pakistan to the United Kingdom. — DawnNews
A screengrab from a viral video in which TikTok star Hareem Shah is seen saying she had travelled with a significant amount of cash from Pakistan to the United Kingdom. — DawnNews

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday launched a money laundering probe against TikTok star Hareem Shah after she claimed that she had travelled from Pakistan to the United Kingdom with a significant amount of cash.

In a video, originally shared on social media platform Snack Video, Shah can be seen sitting down with two stacks of British pounds. Showing the money, the social media star said that this was the first time she had carried a "heavy amount" from Pakistan to London.

According to the Federal Board of Revenue's website, a passenger can bring any amount of any foreign currency to Pakistan but "taking out foreign currencies is permitted up to $10,000 unconditionally."

Lamenting the recent depreciation of the Pakistani currency, Shah also said that people feel "sad" when they get rupees converted into euros or dollars.

"The government had promised to increase the [value] of the currency, increase the [value] of the [Pakistani] passport, but they didn't do anything. They could only talk," she said.

The TikTok star then went on to say that those intending to travel with significant sums of money should be "careful". "They catch you," she said, adding that there was a difference in her case.

"Nobody said anything to me and, you know, they cannot. I came very easily," she said, adding that in Pakistan the laws only applied to the poor.

After Shah's video was widely shared on social media, a spokesperson for Sindh FIA said in a statement that a money laundering inquiry had been initiated against her.

According to the statement, Shah had travelled from Karachi international airport to Doha, Qatar on January 10.

"The FIA has decided to write a letter to the UK's National Crime Agency to take action against Hareem Shah whose real name is Fiza Husain,” the statement said

It added that "the transfer of currency through illegal means falls in the ambit of money laundering."

The FIA statement said the inquiry against Shah was launched under laws pertaining to foreign exchange laws and her "visa, immigration and travel documents have been obtained."

“The FIA has initiated an inquiry and sought details from Pakistan Customs and Airport Security Force as well," the FIA spokesperson said.

This is not the first time that Shah has found herself in hot water. In October 2019, authorities had launched an inquiry when she had shared videos of herself in the conference room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The development had raised eyebrows, questions, tempers and concerns regarding security on social media. Later, Shah had said that she had entered the conference room after seeking permission.

"They should not have allowed me to make video if it was against rules and regulations," she had added.

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