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Friday, May 17, 2024

Swiss leaks: Ex-spymaster’s family rejects claims

While talking to a private media channel, Haroon Akhtar, who also served as a member of the cabinet of ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi raised questions on the dates mentioned in the Swiss leaks data.

The family of former Pakistani intelligence chief, the late Gen Akhtar, has denied the claims made in the recent Swiss leaks. As per the family, the claims are based on conjecture and incorrect information.

To clarify, Gen Akhtar is among those named in a new extraordinary report of secret banking data dubbed as “Suisse Secrets”. According to the leaked data, Gen Akhtar’s sons held bank accounts in Credit Suisse, one of the world’s most iconic banks. Their father allegedly funneled billions of dollars in those accounts during the 1980s. As a result, the sons of Gen Akhtar have been talking to the media to set the record straight on the allegations in Swiss Leaks.

Former senator Haroon Akhtar Khan rejected the claims made regarding his family in the recent Swiss Leaks. While talking to a private media channel, Haroon Akhtar, who also served as a member of the cabinet of ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi raised questions on the dates mentioned in the Swiss leaks data.

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Haroon Akhtar said the Swiss Leaks claim that a bank account was opened in 1985. 15-20 years later, the account held money worth $3.7 million dollars. Therefore, it must be their father’s, Haroon Akhter said.

“My father left this world in 1988. Even if he is being linked to something in 1985, the data should have first mentioned the money in 1985 or 1988,” Haroon Akhtar said.

Haroon Akhtar’s strong response!

After the Suisse Leak, the bank released a statement rejecting the allegations. According to the bank, the information in the report is based on, “partial, selective information taken out of context”.

Referring to the bank’s response, Haroon Akhtar said the Suisse Leak is an attempt to deliberately target Pakistan’s intelligence agency, especially in light of the current Ukraine crisis.

“The newspapers said there was never any charge against my father. However today, my father’s photo is everywhere. Who do you think is being targeted here?” Haroon Akhtar said.

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He once again reiterated that his family never took part in any illegal activities. Haroon Akhtar firmly rejected the claims, saying his family lives in accordance with the law. Moreover, Haroon Akhtar said he and his family will seriously contemplate legal action against the organization responsible for Suisse Secrets.

Heavy allegations

A self-described whistle-blower leaked data on more than 18,000 bank accounts, collectively holding more than $100 billion, to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Pakistani officials, politicians, and businessmen were among the names.

The newspaper shared the data with a nonprofit journalism group, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and 46 other news organisations around the world. This included The New York Times which said General Akhtar helped funnel billions of dollars in cash and other aid from the US and other countries to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan to support their fight against the Soviet Union.

Important to note, this is not the first time that a data leak accused Pakistan of corruption. Pakistan’s reputation previously suffered due to the likes of Pandora Papers and Panama Papers.

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