Goa’s former Tourism Minister Fransisco Mickey Pacheco today brushed aside the allegations of his involvement in a major international money laundering and fake travel document racket, saying he was prepared for any inquiry as his accounts were transparent.
“I am shocked to read what has appeared in the newspaper. My overseas employment agency has ceased to exist for last four years, since I separated from my wife,” Mr. Pacheco told PTI at his residence in Betalbhatim, south Goa.
Mr. Pacheco said he is ready to face any inquiry and his bank accounts are transparent, which could be probed by any agency.
The NCP legislator is in the controversy after a national newspaper reported that US’ bureau of diplomatic security had connected the former minister to a massive immigration and money laundering racket.
The news report mentioned that the bureau had got in touch with Indian Ministry of External Affairs with the relevant documents and case is being referred to CBI.
The former minister said that all the recruitments done when he ran the agency along with his estranged wife Sara, were all “valid and with proper documents.”
“I have not sent anyone abroad with forged or fake documents. I am ready to face any kind of investigation,” Pacheco said adding that he does not know whether Sara still continues with the licence.
The former minister had to step down in June from the State cabinet after he was booked by crime branch in connection with the death of his close friend Nadia Torrado.
Mr. Pacheco said that his wife, Sara, against whom he has filed a divorce case, had licence of the recruitment agency.
“I don’t know whether she continued recruiting people or not. I was out of the agency business once we separated,” said the former tourism minister.
He said that Sara herself had established the agency - Overseas Manpower Private Limited, in 1996 and was running it.
“The recruitments were done on ships on seaman visa. Many times the candidates used to travel to different ports and enter the countries, the recruitment agency had no hold over it,” Mr. Pacheco conceded.
The report submitted to MEA had said that Pacheco had $ 15 million in his account in US and had recently transferred $ 2 million to India.
“I challenge to prove that I have such huge money in my bank accounts,” he said.
The former minister said the boys who are working abroad, at times, deposit their money in his account which he withdraws and gives back to their families back in Goa.
“All the money is accounted one. Those Goan boys working abroad used to deposit in my account and I used to withdraw them immediately. I have the bank statement which I can keep open for public scrutiny,” he said.