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He Had $31M but Didn't Know It. It's Made His Life Awful

The unlucky story of Muhammad Abdul Qadir
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2018 10:15 AM CDT
Traffic in Karachi, Pakistan.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Would your life be any different if someone told you $31 million once sat in your bank account (but wasn't yours) and isn't there anymore? For a Pakistani man, the answer is a resounding yes: He says his life had gotten worse. The Guardian and Dawn have the story of Muhammad Abdul Qadir, who says he was twice questioned by law enforcement in September about an account in his name at the State Bank of Pakistan; it was opened in 2014 using his identification, saw $31 million (in today's dollars) pass through it, and was closed in 2015. Qadir says he told officials the truth: He's an impoverished ice-cream seller living in a slum in Karachi who is unable to write and therefore couldn't have signed the paperwork tied to the account.

Law enforcement believed his story, but the 52-year-old's life has been upended all the same, he says. Neighbors have taken to taunting him, reportedly crying out, "Look a billionaire is selling" ice cream; his mother fears someone might misunderstand the story and kidnap him for ransom. And so he's stopped working. "I am the most unlucky man in the world," he says. The account in his name may be one of the 77 that officials are investigating and believe may be linked to a nearly half-billion-dollar money-laundering scheme that could ultimately touch former president Asif Ali Zardari, who Time notes was referred to as "Mr. Ten Percent" in a nod to the allegations of bribery that surrounded him. (Over two years, this trio stole $1.2 million from Amazon.)

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