Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh arrested in money-laundering case

  • Shaikh is accused of having illegally transferred Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based firm, Chanda Exchange Company, in April 2014

KARACHI – The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh on Monday evening after the Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected his protective bail application in Axact money laundering case.

His arrest followed the approval of FIA’s appeal against the acquittal of those accused in the money laundering case.

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

SHC approves FIA’s appeal against acquittal of Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh

The court had ordered Shoaib Shaikh and others accused in the case to appear before the trial court on March 3.

The Axact CEO and others including Chanda Exchange Company’s Muhammad Younis and Junaid, have been accused by the FIA of having illegally transferred Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based firm, Chanda Exchange Company, in April 2014.

The Axact scandal surfaced in May 2015, when The New York Times published a report on how 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.

Last month, the Supreme Court had taken notice of the money laundering case after the fake degree scandal involving Axact re-emerged last month. The apex court had subsequently directed the Sindh and Islamabad high courts to to promptly decide all pending cases against the company.

Islamabad judge removed from service for taking Rs5m bribe in Axact fake degrees case

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had subsequently removed additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Pervaizul Qadir Memon from service for acquitting Sheikh in the fake degree case.

According to a show-cause notice issued by the IHC registrar, Memon had confessed before Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani that he had acquitted the accused after accepting a bribe.