FIA arrests Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh in money-laundering case

KARACHI: Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh was arrested after the Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected his protective bail application, which was submitted after the court approved the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) appeal against the acquittal of those accused in the Axact money laundering case.

The Axact CEO’s legal counsel had requested the court to grant a three-day protective bail.

Will proceed against Shoaib Sheikh according to law

The FIA director confirmed that the Axact CEO was arrested according to the court’s direction. The director added that the FIA will proceed against Shoaib Sheikh according to the law and that proceedings will begin once the court’s detailed verdict has been delivered.

According to the FIA director, further interrogation of Shoaib Sheikh will be conducted. Additionally the FIA has secured the services of senior lawyers to proceed against the Axact CEO.

Shoaib Sheikh remained holed up to avoid arrest

Shaikh, arrived at court early morning, was present inside the court premises for around 10 hours. Personnel of the FIA, police and Rangers were instructed to arrest the Axact CEO after the SHC approved FIA’s appeal.

Shaikh’s legal counsel reportedly advised him to surrender to law-enforcement agencies as he had no other option after the rejection of his bail plea.

A division bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, was hearing an appeal filed by the FIA against the acquittal of the Axact chief in a case pertaining to illegal transfer of Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based firm, Chanda Exchange Company, in April 2014.

The two-member SHC bench also sent the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Session court ordered to charge accused

The sessions court was earlier ordered to charge the accused persons and wrap up the case within three months.

The court ordered Axact’s CEO Shoaib Shaikh and others accused in the case to appear before the trial court on March 3.

The accused include, Chanda Exchange Company’s Mohammad Younis and Junaid, who allegedly received 170 million rupees through 116 cheques.

The case

The Axact scandal surfaced in May 2015, when The New York Times published a report had claimed the company sold fake diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools, making “tens of millions of dollars annually”.
The FIA had then filed a plea against the acquittal of Shaikh in 2016 in a money laundering case, arguing that he was exonerated from the charges by the trial court despite strong evidence that proved his involvement in money laundering.