Pakistani TV star Waqar Zaki accused of illegal cryptocurrency transactions

A Pakistani court has issued an arrest warrant for a local TV presenter in connection with suspicious cryptocurrency transactions worth 173 million rupees (about $764,349). Waqar Zaka did not appear in court during the hearing of the case by the magistrate on Thursday. As a result, the judge ordered the arrest of the TV star without the right to release from custody on bail, and set the first hearing on the merits for January 5, 2023. In January 2022, the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) accused Waqar Zaka of carrying out illegal transactions with cryptocurrencies.. The investigation was initiated at the request of the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU). According to the FIA, Zaka has committed $764,349 in suspicious banking transactions over the past three years.. The total amount of loans in his accounts reached 86.1 million rupees ($380,407), and the debt managed to reach 87.1 million rupees ($384,825). Investigation alleges Zaka used social media for charitable purposes and to obtain international funding. However, judging by the TV presenter's Twitter account, Zaka was engaged in the promotion of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.. After analyzing bank statements, the FIA found that the money was credited to the accounts through foreign money transfers and check settlements, and then transferred to the accounts of family members of the TV presenter. FIA announced that the Central Bank of Pakistan (SBP) does not recognize digital assets as legal tender that can be held by the user or transferred to others. The federal agency recalled that a few years ago, the Central Bank of Pakistan banned banks from processing transactions with cryptocurrencies and repeatedly warned the public about the risks of trading crypto assets. In May, the Pakistani government formed several departments to decide whether to legalize or ban cryptocurrencies in the country.. In the meantime, the SBP announced the preparation of legislation to launch its own digital currency by 2025.