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Axact CEO discharged in money laundering case

Axact CEO discharged in money laundering case

KARACHI: A court discharged Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh, chief executive officer of software company Axact, in a money laundering case on Wednesday.

Mr Sheikh and two directors of a forex company were booked over alleged illegal transfer of Rs170.17 million to Dubai in April 2014.

When a suspect is acquitted in a case before the indictment, he or she is said to have been discharged by court.

The Axact CEO, through his lawyer Shaukat Hayat, moved an application for quashing the proceedings against him by submitting that he had no link with the forex company.

The counsel said that the applicant could not be tried twice for one offence since the bank account allegedly used in the crime had already been frozen and securitised in the main case against him pertaining to fake degrees and money laundering.

A prosecutor for the Federal Investigation Agency opposed the plea, saying that it was premature to move such an application as the trial had not yet started.

After hearing both sides, additional district and sessions judge (south) Sohail Ahmed Leghari allowed the application and discharged the applicant.

The FIA has also booked the Axact CEO and some members of the management team and employees of the company in a case pertaining to preparation and sale of fake degrees, diplomas and accreditation certificates of fictitious universities/schools through a fraudulent online system and thus illegally minting millions of dollars.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered an inquiry against Axact in May last year after The New York Times published a report, accusing the company of selling fake degrees and diplomas online through “hundreds of fictitious schools” and making “tens of millions of dollars annually”.

But the Sindh High Court granted bail to Mr Sheikh and 13 others in the main case. An identical case against them is pending in a district and sessions court in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016

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