Thu, 27 Jan 2022

SBP does not allow cryptocurrency dealings in Pakistan

Khalid Umar Malik
10 Jan 2022, 17:48 GMT+10

KARACHI, Pakistan - The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has discovered an online fraud using a cryptocurrency worth USD100 million (Rs17.7 billion) and has issued a notice to Binance's local agent to appear in person on January 10, according to local media.

Imran Riaz, the Additional Director of the FIA's cybercrime division, revealed details of the fraud on Friday, saying that individuals involved in the internet scam sent money abroad using cryptocurrency.

"We launched a probe after receiving complaints regarding a fraud involving billions of rupees being committed using nine online applications." He went on to say that they have sought responses in this regard from a cryptocurrency representative in Pakistan.

He said individuals have put between $100 and $80,000 into fraud applications.

"Those who developed these apps were linked to cryptocurrency."

Imran Riaz stated that all persons related to the Binance cryptocurrency fraud would be identified, and their crypto accounts would be suspended. According to the FIA officer, cryptocurrency is also used in money laundering and terror financing.

Some smartphone applications, according to details, were providing Pakistanis the opportunity to invest in virtual money. These apps were linked to Binance, the most popular virtual marketplace for buying and selling Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

However, these applications vanished overnight, resulting in a loss of about Rs17.7 billion in Pakistani investment. According to the authorities, the one-of-a-kind method was used for fraudulent conduct. The people who launched the apps had connections to the crypto exchange.

"During the inquiry, it was found that the fraudulent accounts of different applications, namely, MCX, HFC, HTFOX, FXCOPY, OKMINI, BB001, AVG86C, BX66, 91fp, TASKTOK, were linked with Binance wallets," the officials said.

The FIA had issued a notice to the local representative of Binance, Hamza Khan.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released a circular in 2018 informing the general public that it had not authorized or licensed any individual or business in Pakistan for the issuance, sale, purchase, or investment in any virtual currencies, coins, or tokens.

According to a recent survey by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Pakistanis own $20 billion worth of cryptocurrencies.

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