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FinCEN Files: 6 Pakistani Banks accused of carrying out...

September 21, 2020 (MLN): There were as many as 29 suspicious transactions that took place between Pakistani banks and the rest of the world, an investigation by ICIJ revealed on Monday.

The investigation titled ‘FinCEN Files’ further revealed that nearly USD 1,942,560 were received by Pakistan and USD 425,000 were sent to various parts across the world.

Furthermore, up to 6 Pakistani Banks, namely Allied Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited, Bank Alfalah Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, and Habib Bank Limited, were flagged as potentially suspicious in the FinCEN Files documents.

Allied Bank topped the list for making 12 transactions out of the total 29, with receipts totaling USD 1,001,170. UBL, on the other hand, made 8 transactions for receiving USD 399,620.

Habib Metro allegedly made 2 transactions for receiving USD 74,980, whereas Standard Charted made 4 transactions for receiving USD 199,860. Habib Bank Limited was part of only one transaction wherein it received USD 167,450.

Bank Alfalah emerged as the only Pakistani bank that was a part of a two-way transaction, as it sent UD 452,000 and received USD 99,480.

It was further revealed that these transactions were processed via 2 U.S.-based banks, which filed suspicious activity reports with FinCEN.

Some of the main highlights of the investigation show that global banks moved more than $2 trillion between 1999 and 2017 in payments they believed were suspicious, and flagged bank clients in more than 170 countries who were identified as being involved in potentially illicit transactions. The figures include $514 billion at JPMorgan Chase and $1.3 trillion at Deutsche Bank.

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PKR trades 47 paisa lower against USD

September 21, 2020 (MLN): Pakistani rupee (PKR) depreciated by 47 paisa against US Dollar (USD) in today's interbank session as the currency closed the day's trade at PKR 166.3 per USD, against last session's closing of PKR 165.83 per USD.

The rupee saw a volatility free session as very little movement was recorded trading in a range of 52 paisa per USD showing an intraday high bid of 166.37 and an intraday Low offer of 165.93.

Within the Open Market, PKR was traded at 165.70/166.50 per USD.

Alternatively, the currency gained 1.7 rupees against the Pound Sterling as the day's closing quote stood at PKR 213.53 per GBP, while the previous session closed at PKR 215.25 per GBP.

Similarly, PKR's value strengthened by 45 paisa against EUR which closed at PKR 196.18 at the interbank today.

On another note, within the money market, the overnight repo rate towards close of the session was 6.75/6.90 percent, whereas the 1 week rate was 6.95/7.00 percent.

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Mobile phone imports increase 87.37% during July-August 2020

Sep 21, 2020: The import of mobile phones into the country has witnessed an increase of 87.37 percent during the first two months of ongoing financial year (2020-21) as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Pakistan imported mobile phones worth US $306.383 million during July-August (2020-21) as compared to the imports of US $163.519 million during July-August (2020-21), showing growth of 87.37 percent, according to the latest data issued by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

On year-on year basis, the import of mobile phones witnessed increased of 85.84 percent in August 2020, as compared to the imports of the same month of last year.

The mobile imports during August 2020 were recorded at US $158.384 million against the imports of US $85.224 million in August 2019.

On month-on-month basis, the imports of mobile phones also increased by 7.02 percent during August 2020, as compared to the imports of US $147.999 million during July 2020, according to the data.

It is pertinent to mention here that the country trade deficit witnessed reduction of 8.32 percent during the first two months current fiscal year (2020-21) as compared to the deficit of the corresponding period of last year.

The deficit during July-August (2020-21) was recorded at $3.382 billion against the deficit of $3.689 billion, the data revealed.

During the period under review, the country’s exports registered negative growth of 4.27 percent, by going down from $3.744 billion last year to $3.584 billion during the current year.

On the other hand, the imports witnessed decreased of 6.28 percent, from $7.433 billion last year to $6.966 billion this year.

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Avanceon Ltd signs contract worth Rs100 million with a...

September 21, 2020 (MLN): Avanceon Limited and its subsidiary Avanceon FZE have signed Supply, Installation, Maintenance and Upgradation Contracts worth over 100 Million PKR with a major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan. Avanceon will be providing a wide range of services to install, maintain and upgrade critical systems at multiple gas fields.

According to a notification issued to PSX in this regard, the projects will include Avanceon’s first Service Level Agreement (SLA) for Schneider Foxboro I/A Series Distributed Control Systems which will be serviced by the After-Market Support (AMS) division.

This is a major success for Avanceon’s AMS portfolio as previously the customer engaged the OEM directly for support and SLAs. Avanceon is a certified Alliance Partner of Schneider Electric and has proven its technical expertise across various portfolios. The SLA will be for one year and will conclude in 2021.

The scope of work for Avanceon will include,

· Supply of Material (Hardware and Software)

· Project Engineering, Management, System Engineering and Configuration with Factory Acceptance and Site Acceptance Tests

· Onsite Commissioning and Start Up Services.

· Installation and Integration Services and Commissioning of Supplied Materials

· Operational & Maintenance Training for the customer at Avanceon facility

· Commissioning of Performance Guarantee Test (PGT) and Performance Reliability Test (PRT)

Avanceon will also provide the following services for a critical exploration well for the customer.

· Design, Supply & Installation of PLC SCADA System

· Design, Supply & Installation of Solar System

· Pre-Commissioning, Commissioning and Engineering Services

‘The series of projects are a major step forward for Avanceon’s Oil & Gas and AMS portfolio. The projects are currently underway and will be commissioned within the agreed timeframe’. the notification added.

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Overseas investors can acquire 100% ownership in all companies...

September 21, 2020 (MLN): The Pakistan Stock Exchange has said that Foreign persons and institutions as well as non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) can invest in securities listed on PSX and benefit from potential growth opportunities available through investing in the Exchange.

‘For non-resident Pakistanis, investing in PSX is specially an attractive venture as it will enable them to benefit from the competitive returns from the Pakistani Capital Market while being stakeholders in their homeland’s economy’, PSX said on its website.

‘Foreign investors are considered at par with the local investors at PSX and they can acquire 100% of the ownership in all companies except the restricted industries. There is no extra taxation for foreign investors and they are allowed repatriation of profit and investment at any time with the approval of State Bank of Pakistan’, it added.

Th Central Depositary Company (CDC), too, recently released detailed information regarding the process flows of investment in stock market by Non-Resident Pakistan through Roshan Digital Account (RDA), in order to facilitate them on its use. The report covered information pertaining to Account opening, offering of direct Custodial Services (SCRA Model) by the designated Bank of NRP, and trading through CDC DSS.

There are now two ways an investor from abroad can invest on PSX. One is through opening a Special Convertible Rupee Account (SCRA) and the other is through opening of Roshan Digital Account (NRP Rupee Value Account – NRVA).

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