Revealed: How Zakir Naik laundered money through his relatives' accounts

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Bengaluru, Dec 17: A new report claims to reveal as to how did Dr Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher transferred money received by the NGO to the accounts held by his relatives. According to the Economic Offences Wing, it was found that the money which came into the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) was moved into accounts held by his relatives and later routed through some companies. The Enforcement Directorate has also sought a reply from the National Investigation Agency regarding information on the financial transactions of Zakir Naik's NGO.

Zakir Naik

The ED will now go deep into the money trail and also look whether some companies were floated to launder money that was received by the IRF. The manner in which the money has moved from the IRF to accounts of family members indicates a text book style of money laundering, the ED official said while also adding that the matter would be probed further.

Gulf funding:
The findings by the Economic Offences Wing shows that a nearly Rs 50 crore had been deposited into accounts held by Naik's relatives. The funds had been transferred to the accounts that were held by Naik's wife, relatives and children. The probe also found that Naik had set up a video and television software production house called the Harmony Media in Mumbai. He is also alleged to have set up two real estate firms. These companies were set up between 2005 and 2008. It was found that Naik's wife was one of the promoters of the real estate firms.

While scrutinising the documents, the investigators found that the real estate firms had not reported any income between 2009 and 2015. Further it was also found that the Harmony Media that was set up in 2005 saw a major growth in the past few years. Naik's wife was appointed on the board in 2006 but resigned in 2013.

Discrepancies in accounts
The NIA while probing the money trail and the purpose for which the same was used had found that funds had been handed out for conversions. A scholarship granted to a person who later went on to join the ISIS was also probed into by the NIA. NIA officials say that the IRF had received a large amount of funds which were domestic. This would mean that these contributions were made by persons who had visited the NGO. Domestic funding would also include the money that was raised by the NGO through the programmes it conducted. This would be a very difficult trail to find, the NIA officer informed.

NIA officials pointed out that there was some confusion regarding the funds that the IRF had released to its affiliate, the Islamic International School. This grant of funds does not reflect correctly in the account books and hence needs to be probed further.

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