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UK recovers funds from Pakistani money-launderer

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Anti-crime authorities in the UK said on Tuesday that it has seized 472,740 pounds from a convicted Pakistani money launderer.

The confiscation order was granted last year after Kashaf Khan bought a 412,000 pounds house with money he claimed had been won with123 prize-winning tickets in the Pakistan lottery.

The 44-year-old made the purchase in his elderly father's name but the National Crime Agency (NCA) was able to establish that it was actually Khan who was the real purchaser of the property.

Kashaf Ali Khan wrongfully thought he could get away with funding his lifestyle by criminal means. Offenders like Khan play an enabling role for other criminals to move and clean the proceeds of crime. They will be relentlessly pursued by the NCA, said NCA investigating officer Phil Houghton.

The issue poses a priority threat for the NCA and we do everything possible to combat it. This order is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from a criminal lifestyle crime doesn't pay, he said.

The NCA employed an expert statistician who said Khan's version of events was as likely as winning the UK National Lottery jackpot 40 weeks running, a statistical impossibility.

Khan, who later admitted money laundering by using criminal money to buy the house, has now had to sell the property to pay off the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation order to the tune of 472,740 pounds last month.

In October 2009, the NCA caught Khan handing over a holdall to someone which contained 74,830 pounds in cash.

The following September Khan admitted money laundering offences and received a suspended prison sentence together with an order to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

In January 2012, Khan was ordered to pay 175,000 pounds because of the conviction.

Britain's tax department, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), have no recorded legitimate income for him and yet he was able to pay off the 175,000 pounds in cash within 12 months.

He later admitted paying off the confiscation order using further criminal cash.

In 2013, Khan used criminal monies to buy the Prospect Lane, Solihull property in the West Midlands region of England.

During the previous year, flurries of money had been transferred into Khan's father's UK bank account from Dubai, the NCA found.

Using his father, Khan used black-market prize bond dealers in Pakistan in a bid to fool investigators into believing he had won legitimate prizes.

The NCA investigators found that winners of the Pakistan state lottery have to wait several weeks to collect their winnings.

Because of that, some are willing to take a loss and sell their winning ticket to an agent for a lesser amount which they get immediately.

The black-market agents then sell on the winning tickets for more than they are worth to crooks, like Khan, needing to clean their criminal money who can then get prize organisers to issue payment in their name.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, September 03 2019. 19:55 IST