FBR launches crackdown against Bitcoin traders in Pakistan

Bitcoin traders

The top intelligence department of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is investigating various cases where the investors are using digital currencies to evade taxes etc. These currencies are traded as commodities.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) doesn’t recognize the cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. According to a senior tax official, people use this currency to evade tax and launder money, reports Dawn.

People buy bitcoin as it provides an easy way for them to launder their tax-evaded money. On Wednesday, the anti-money laundering cell of the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation, Inland Revenue (I&I-IR) started the probe into the financials of people who have invested huge amounts in cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.

In Pakistan, the familiarity of bitcoin is on the rise where people mostly trade it against cash. The current price of bitcoin is around Rs 200,000 and upon receiving credible intel, Directorate General of I&I-IR has undertaken the task to trace the trade.

The digital currency is preferred as a tool to launder money due to the decentralization of peer-to-peer online transactions and the anonymity that comes with it. No local or international laws currently regulate the trade in bitcoin and its popularity is evident from the fact that its trade volume increased 400 percent in Pakistan during December 2016.

Reportedly, the inquiry shows the major traders of this cryptocurrency are people who are employed in a multinational telecommunication company in Islamabad who also maintain bank accounts in other countries as well.

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