SKorea arrests 5 Pakistanis in alleged scam
AP - Thursday, November 6
SEOUL, South Korea - Five Pakistanis accused of running an illegal money transferring network connected to a suspected Taliban operative were arrested in South Korea, police said Friday.
The suspects allegedly transferred about $76 million between South Korea and Pakistan over a three-year period by disguising their outfit as an ordinary trading fund, the National Police Agency said in a statement.
Police said the funds include about $50,000 used by an Afghan man believed to be a Taliban operative. The man, who was arrested in July in South Korea, is accused of attempting to smuggle a chemical used to make heroin and explosives from South Korea to Afghanistan.
South Korean police, however, have not found any evidence that the five Pakistanis worked as Taliban operatives or that the rest of the money was funneled to Taliban forces in Pakistan, police officer Oh Ki-duk said.
The Pakistanis used an informal money transfer system called "hawala," a paperless system that is used in some Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries but is illegal in South Korea, Oh said.
International terrorist networks such as al-Qaida are believed to use "hawala" to receive money from drug trades in Afghanistan and donors in oil-rich Gulf states.
In South Korea, violating the country's foreign currency trading law is punishable by up three years in prison and $151,000 in fines.
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