ISLAMABAD: A National Assembly panel was informed that anti-corruption and money laundering laws could be used for getting information about those Pakistanis who had invested over $8 billion in real estate in the UAE, exactly on the pattern of Panama when information was sought during investigation.
While directing NAB, SBP, FBR and others to identify loopholes in their laws on account of $8 billion investment in properties in the UAE, the National Assembly panel was informed the anti-corruption and money-laundering laws could be used to get information about those who had invested abroad in real estate.
The sub-committee issued directives to all relevant agencies, including the FIA, NAB, State Bank of Pakistan and FBR to identify the loopholes in their laws which facilitate money laundering.
The sub-committee decided to invite officials of Law Ministry and Foreign Office to know if any pressure can be exerted on the UAE government to know the names of Pakistanis who have bought properties there.
A sub-committee, headed by Dr Shezra Mansab Ali, was constituted to look into the matters related to investments made into the real estate in the UAE.
Dr. Shezra said that the wave of investments by Pakistanis started in the UAE during 2006 but it continued despite concerns shown by respective governments.
Asad Umar, belonging to PTI, said that the information was obtained from the Dubai Land Authority – possibly for their marketing purposes after every six months showing the investments made by citizens of different countries.
“Pakistanis have invested around $8 billion in Dubai in the past four years,” he added. Chairman FBR Tariq Pasha told the committee that they had a bilateral tax treaty with the UAE, but despite sending them repeated reminders since 2011, the authorities in the UAE did not respond.
“We have even asked them for a meeting or a meeting with the ambassador of UAE to Pakistan but they have not responded even to this request,” he added.
Asad Umar asked about the laws that were used to get response from the UAE over the Panama case. The committee was informed by the NAB that anti-corruption laws were used to obtain the relevant information from the UAE.
The official also said that only anti-corruption laws and money laundering laws can be used to seek information about the names of those who had bought properties in the UAE.
He said the SECP should ask Emaar in writing if they are making bookings for apartments in Dubai. The SBP officials told the committee that for investments abroad up to $5 million could be obtained from the State Bank, whereas approval for amount higher required approval of the ECC.