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Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Anti-corruption squad holds McDonalds boss

The Lakhanis are a prominent business family based in Karachi
Pakistan's top anti-corruption body says it has detained a prominent Pakistani businessman, Amin Lakhani and his brother.

Mr Lakhani, who heads the American fast food chain McDonalds in Pakistan, was seized on Monday in the port city of Karachi.

His brother Sultan Lakhani was reported as missing by his family on the same day.

The Lakhanis are one of Pakistan's leading business families and own two Karachi-based newspapers.

Loan default

The head of Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau, Lieutenant General Syed Mohammed Amjad told the BBC's Urdu service that Amin Lakhani had been picked up for questioning.

After holding a four-month investigation, the bureau decided to interrogate him over an alleged loan default.

General Amjad said he would be shortly brought before a judge.

Earlier, Pakistan's Interior Minister, Moinuddin Haider, had denied speculation that the Lakhani brothers were in government custody.

Abducted

Amin Lakhani was returning to his Karachi home on Monday when several armed men, wearing uniforms, seized him.

He was then put inside a blue Pajero and driven away.

It was speculated initially that he had been kidnapped.

But local police suggested that he might have been detained by a federal agency such as the Accountability Bureau, which has the power to arrest a suspect without informing the local authorities.

Mr Lakhani's brother, Sultan, disappeared while flying from Lahore to Islamabad.

The car that was to receive him at Islamabad airport returned after he failed to emerge from the terminal building.

Soon after taking over the country last October, Pakistan's military ruler pledged to crack down on corruption and recover unpaid loans.

Several businessmen as well as politicians have been arrested since then.

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See also:

10 May 00 | South Asia
Mystery over Karachi abduction
17 Nov 99 | South Asia
Pakistan cracks down on defaulters
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