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Court orders: FIA starts process for attachment of Shaheen Air’s properties

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has started the process of attachment of properties, including aircraft, of the Shaheen Air International (SAI) in a money laundering case against several executives of the now-liquidated airline.

The agency had registered a case against SAI last year on the charges of causing a loss of Rs2.1 billion to the Civil Aviation Authority, according to FIA.

The air carrier also allegedly caused a loss of Rs200 million to the Sialkot International Airport, said FIA deputy director Rauf Sheikh. Moreover, it allegedly committed “willful default” amounting to Rs11 billion against the Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) and Rs50m default against United Bank Ltd (UBL).

According to sources, the airline’s owners allegedly established firms in the United Arab Emirates and purchased properties in Pakistan and abroad using this money.

FIA Sindh director Munir Ahmed Sheikh said the agency had registered a case against SAI CEO Ehsan Khalid Sehbai and eight other directors on July 13, 2020, on charges of misappropriation of the amount owed to the CAA.

The suspects subsequently allegedly laundered the proceeds of crime in different bank accounts in Pakistan and abroad and purchased properties using this money, he added.

The officer revealed that the concerned court had granted the FIA approval to temporarily seize the “properties involved in money laundering” identified so far against SAI directors.

FIR registered against SAI officials last year was the outcome of an inquiry conducted by the FIA Corporate Crime Circle, Karachi. It was initiated on the basis of a written complaint by the CAA.

It was registered under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 489-F (dishonoring of the cheque), 109 (abetment), 34 (common criminal intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Sections 3 & 4 of AML Act, 2010 (money laundering).

In addition, Ehsan Sehbai, the members of the SAI management who were booked in the case included directors Kashif Mahmud, Sabrina Kalsoom Sehbai, Javed Karim, Janet Sehbai, Hoshing P. Sidhwa, Rashida Yasmeen, Yawar Mehmood and Mohammad Wasiq.