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Court acquits Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh in money laundering case

Court acquits Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh

KARACHI: A district and sessions court acquitted Axact Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shoaib Shaikh in a money laundering case here on Wednesday.

Shaikh’s counsel, Shaukat Hayat, had moved an applicable petition under Section 249-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), arguing that his client cannot be tried twice on identical petitions.

The Axact CEO was accused of having illegally transferred Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based firm, Chanda Exchange Company, in April 2014.

Chanda Exchange Company’s directors Mohammad Younis and Mohammad Junaid are co-accused in the case, which is registered with a First-Information Report (FIR) 51/15 under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947.

Hayat argued before the court that the account in question had been already seized in connection with FIR 7/15 – the fake degrees case in which Shaikh was granted bail on Aug 15 after almost 15 months in custody.

Sohail Ahmed Leghari, additional district and sessions judge (south), after hearing the arguments discharged Shaikh from the case, saying the possibility of conviction in the case was low.

Earlier this month, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had granted bail to Shaikh and 13 others – all of whom had been in custody for the past 15 months – in the fake degrees case.

The Axact scandal surfaced in May last year when The New York Times published a report that claimed the company sold fake diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools, making “tens of millions of dollars annually”.

Subsequently the offices of Axact were sealed, its CEO and key officials were arrested and a probe was launched on the basis of the allegations leveled by NYT.

 






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