FIA Lodges FIR Against PTI Chief Imran Khan Over Prohibited Funds

FIA Lodges FIR Against PTI Chief Imran Khan Over Prohibited Funds
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday lodged an FIR against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in connection with prohibited funding.

The aforementioned FIR has been lodged at the agency's Banking Circle Police Station. Now-defunct Abraaj Group had transferred $210,000 to the PTI, according to the FIR. The sum was transferred to a party account at the branch of a bank located at Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad. Funds were also transferred to the PTI from Wootton Cricket.

The club was also presided over by Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi. The Abraaj Group, now in liquidation following accusations of fraud, was spearheaded by Pakistani businessman Naqvi. The private equity firm's interests spanned continents from its base in the UAE emirate of Dubai.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had unanimously found that PTI received prohibited funds in August, 2022. A three-member bench declared the verdict around 10:30 AM, which was originally supposed to be announced on June 21st, but had been reserved. The bench was headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander (CEC) Sultan Raja. The case against PTI was filed in 2014 by the party’s founding member Akbar Babar and had been pending since November 2014.

In the ECP’s verdict, it was declared that the party had ‘knowingly and willfully’ received funding from Wootton Cricket Limited, a company run by business tycoon Arif Naqvi, who had organized political fundraisers for PTI in the past. The CEC ruled that the PTI had been a ‘willing recipient’ of prohibited fund amounting to around $2,121,500.

Other sources of prohibited funding included  donations from Bristol Engineering Services (a UAE-based company), E-Planet Trustees (a Cayman Island private registered company), SS Marketing Manchester (a UK-based private company), PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 which were ‘hit by prohibition and were in violation of Pakistani laws’.

In addition, the party also received funds from the PTI Canada Corporation, PTI UK Public Limited Company, Australia-based company Dunpec Limited, and Romita Shetty, a US-based business woman of Indian-origin. “PTI Pakistan, through fundraising campaigns through fundraising campaigns by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 was a recipient of donations from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. Collection of donations and contributions from foreign nationals and companies are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws,” the ECP ruling said.

The ruling also said that the party had failed to disclose 16 bank accounts, three of which were being operated by senior PTI leadership. It added that non-disclosure and concealment of bank accounts was a violation of Article 17(3) (3), which says, “Every political party shall account for the source of its funds in accordance with law.”