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Over 1,000 bank accounts and cards used in crypto trading seized by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency

Authorities said that the frozen accounts were used to process transactions worth 51 million rupees (around $288,000) to and from crypto exchanges including Binance, Coinbase, and Coinmama.

Islamabad, Pakistan / Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Mon, 03 Jan 2022, 06:26 am UTC

Pakistani authorities have frozen more than 1,000 accounts and credit cards that were used in crypto trading. The move is part of the government’s efforts at curbing the sale and purchase of digital currencies, which are prohibited activities in the country.

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has frozen the bank accounts under the names of 1,064 individuals, Bitcoin.com reported. The frozen accounts were reportedly used in crypto trading activities.

The FIA took action upon the request of the Cyber Crime Reporting Center (CCRC) in Islamabad. Authorities said that the frozen accounts were used to process transactions worth 51 million rupees (around $288,000) to and from crypto exchanges including Binance, Coinbase, and Coinmama.

Aside from freezing the accounts of 1,064 individuals, the FIA also blocked their credit cards, which were used to buy and sell crypto. Citizens were reminded that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) prohibited the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies with a circular issued in April 2018 by its Banking Policy and Regulation Department.

But the ban did little to stop the increasing popularity of cryptos such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) among Pakistani investors. In a report published by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Pakistani investors own around $20 billion worth of crypto assets.

The estimated valuation of the total crypto owned by Pakistani investors was based on research by the association’s Policy Advisory Board, according to FPCCI President Nasir Hayat Magoon at a conference. However, it is highly likely that the actual value could be much higher as many investors in the country buy crypto via peer-to-peer platforms to avoid detection.

Due to the crypto trading prohibition, Magoon said people have to travel to other cities such as Dubai to cash their crypto, according to Daily Pakistan. He urged the government to introduce a policy to regulate and facilitate crypto-related transactions. The FPCCI recommends the adoption of a legal framework aligned with FATF and IMF-issued guidelines.

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