Two customers settled in Dubai had received funds of around Rs 42 crore in their Indian bank accounts, which were immediately invested in stock markets in Dubai. These customers had given a post office box in Dubai as their address. They were earlier found to have received funds through serially numbered demand drafts of Rs 5 lakh each.
This is one of thousands of suspicious transactions that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) found in 2008-09. The number of such transactions, including some high-value cross-country deals during 2008-09, added up to 4,409 in the year. That’s more than double the previous year’s figure of 1,916, FIU’s annual report showed.
Created by the finance ministry in 2004 to monitor money laundering, FIU has prepared a list of thousands of cases of doubtful foreign remittances.
Intelligence agencies, tax authorities, enforcement agencies and regulators are analysing the end-use of these transactions, which might have been invested in stock markets, real estate, insurance premia and/or used for terrorist financing.
“Terrorist organisations need funds to carry out their activities and employ techniques
similar to money launderers to hide and disguise money,” the report said.
In another case, an electronic transfer of over Rs 74 crore was credited to a non-resident’s account.
The amount was then transferred to another account where cheques were issued to various parties against purchase of property.
“The person claimed that he had the mandate from a real estate developer, who had a joint venture with an overseas company,” FIU said in its report. “However, no approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) in India by the overseas company was produced. Cash transactions were also found in various bank accounts belonging to or related to the person.”
The Prevention of Money laundering Act requires every bank, financial institution or intermediaries such as stock brokers and merchant bankers to furnish details of suspicious transactions.