Over $50m hoarded by currency mafia in Karachi homes: sources

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KARACHI: As authorities continue their nationwide crackdown against the dollar, currency smuggling and hoarding, it has been revealed that more than $50 million have been hoarded by the currency mafia in homes across Karachi.

Security agencies have gathered records of various banks and money exchange companies along with those involved in the sale and purchase of US dollars and other foreign currencies, sources said.

Currency moguls who bought the dollar as an “investment” have not yet reimbursed more than $50 million.

People part of the currency mafia are based in Karachi’s old city areas, including Lyari, Kharadar, Mithadar, Clifton, Sadar, Bath Island and DHA neighbourhoods.

Targeted raids on the homes of people involved in the dollar hoarding have already commenced, the sources added.

The revelation comes after earlier in the day Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti while reiterating the government’s resolve to curb dollar and currency smuggling said that 168 first information reports (FIRs) had been registered against people involved in the dollar’s illegal trade.

“The state will deal with hawala, hundi, and other illegal activities with an iron fist,” Bugti said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

It is pertinent to know that the caretaker government last month gave the nod to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to exercise its authority and take necessary measures to curb the smuggling of sugar and US dollars in the country.

Following the government’s approval, the agency is able to exercise its authority and take necessary measures at all entry and exit points of foreign currencies.

As a result of the ongoing nationwide crackdown against the hoarding and smuggling of foreign currencies, the greenback has shed its value by more than Rs18.

Capital market expert Saad Ali — talking to Geo.tv last month — had said that the recent appreciation of the rupee [against the US dollar] was majorly driven by the government’s crackdown against the illegal currency trade and it is unlikely to “sustain for very long”.

Ali also said that he believed that the US dollar “might come down to around Rs285” but is unlikely to fall to Rs250.

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