Connect with us

Bangladesh Bank investigates allegations of money laundering

Bangladesh Bank, Fazle Kabir, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, Money laundering, Terror finance, LimKokWing University

Counterterrorism

Bangladesh Bank investigates allegations of money laundering

The Government of Bangladesh promulgated the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2002. Subsequently, in order to meet emerging international standards, subsequent amendments were made in 2008 and 2012. The main objective of the 2012 Act is to tackle the illegal money transfer to different countries. In order to exercise the powers, and perform the duties, vested in Bangladesh Bank, a separate unit named Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has been established within Bangladesh Bank.

While cases of large-amount money laundering mostly catch the attention of the media, thousands of cases of money laundering and even terror finance mostly do not get into the attention of the media or the authorities concerned. According to Washington-based think-tank Global Financial Integrity (GFI), maximum black money is generated through transaction of spurious goods, drugs trade and human trafficking. No reliable research has shown black money returning to the mainstream economy in a big way when opportunity for whitening is provided.

In fact, the main destinations of black money are foreign territories. For example, a large chunk is deposited in Swiss banks, as the ‘Swiss Banking Act’ of 1934 ensures non-divulgence of information about individual depositors. And some are transferred to tax havens like the USA, Canada, the UK, the UAE, Malaysia Thailand or Singapore through purchase of properties or setting up of companies. For the past few years, dozens of Bangladeshi nationals have smuggled-out millions of dollars into Britain, taking the advantage of UK’s eagerness of accepting dirty money from around the world. To most of the anti-money laundering groups, London is seen as the ‘Capital of dirty money’.

Although the fortunes of Swiss banks have dwindled over recent years, deposits from Bangladesh have gradually grown since 2004. While the amount was only BDT 3.65 billion in 2004, it reportedly increased to BDT 53.67 billion during 2019. Bangladesh is ranked 85th overall and only second after India among the South Asian countries in terms of Swiss deposits.

No clear information can be obtained on whether the money kept in Swiss banks is black or white. But many countries now seek to know the amount of black money deposited by their citizens. Some countries like India have even signed agreement with the Swiss government for getting information about their citizens’ deposits. India is already receiving such information from 2019, and as a consequence deposits by Indians have drastically fallen. Bangladesh could have done the same for tracking the black money flowing out of the country.

Bangladesh Bank against money laundering

Bangladesh Bank has always been extremely active and prompt in investigating cases of money laundering, whether it is found by its own team or brought into its attention by others. But, Bangladesh Bank’s efficiency in combating money laundering has reached into a different height following the joining of Fazle Kabir as its governor.

Mr. Fazle Kabir, former Finance Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh, joined as the 11th Governor of Bangladesh Bank on March 20, 2016. Born in July 1955, Fazle Kabir studied at Faujdarhat Cadet College for his secondary and higher secondary education, followed by his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Department of Economics of the University of Chittagong where he obtained his B.A. (Honors) and Master’s degree. In his professional career, Kabir was a resource person in the areas of Public Finance Management, Public Expenditure Management, Debt Management and other issues at many training institutions including National Defence College, BPATC, National Academy for Planning and Development, BCS Administration Academy, Police Staff College and National Institute of Mass Communication.

With such a rich academic and professional background Mr. Fazle Kabir has not only succeeded in bringing tremendous discipline in the banking sector, he has also been putting special emphasis on issues related to money laundering and terror finance.

Few weeks ago, this newspaper wrote to the Bangladesh Bank governor drawing his attention to a matter of money laundering a terror finance by an individual named Shahana Rashid Sanu. According to information, Shahana has been smuggling out hundreds of thousands of taka from Bangladesh to Malaysia, while she also is accused of funding terrorism. Her youngest son Shamol Mahmood (Anjan) is a student of Malaysia’s LimKokWing University, which is accused of breeding Islamic State members. Malaysian police also has arrested several students of this university on specific allegations of their affiliation with Islamic State.

Shahana Rashid, who was seen on March 29, 2021 publishing videos against the Bangladesh visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and even giving instigation of jihad against the Bangladesh government. Her sons also are involved into various types of criminal activities including abduction, extortion, attempted murder, dealing in drugs and street snatching. Shahana’s case of money laundering and terror finance has also been brought into the attention of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and other law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh, while law enforcement agencies are aware of her involvement into antigovernment activities.

It is expected that Mr. Fazle Kabir will initiate investigation against Shahana Rashid Sanu to prove the allegations of money laundering and terror finance. Identifying and punishing culprits like Shahana is essential for the sake of rule of law. The matter is also under investigation with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU).

Allegations of money laundering against Shahana Rashid Sanu

According to BLiTZ reporter, since 2019, Shahana Rashid Sanu has been sending hundreds of thousands of takas to her youngest son Shamol Mahmood (Anjan) to Malaysia through illegal channels, which is a crime under Money Laundering Act of Bangladesh.

Money laundering is considered an offence, because it has potentially devastating economic, security, and social consequences. It is an avenue for drug dealers, smugglers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials, and others to operate and expand their criminal enterprises. It can also adversely affect collection of government revenue and deprives the government of due revenues.

Also read Cyber Jihadi Units of Islamist Forces in Bangladesh

The Government of Bangladesh promulgated the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2002. Subsequently, in order to meet emerging international standards, subsequent amendments were made in 2008 and 2012. The main objective of the 2012 Act is to tackle the illegal money transfer to different countries. In order to exercise the powers, and perform the duties, vested in Bangladesh Bank, a separate unit named Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has been established within Bangladesh Bank.

The Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012 has elaborated the types of reporting agencies required to report suspected transactions to Bangladesh Bank. Reporting organizations coming within the purview of mandatory reporting include, among others, banks, financial institutions, insurers, money changers, any company or institution which remits or transfers money or money value, stock dealers and stock brokers, portfolio managers, security custodians, asset managers, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, cooperatives, real estate companies, dealers in precious metals and stones, trust companies, lawyers and accountants.

Bangladesh bank has significant powers and responsibilities in restraining and preventing the offence of Money Laundering.

Please follow Blitz on Google News Channel

Recommended for you:

Sohail Choudhury is the Executive Editor of Blitz

Click to comment

Leave a Comment

More in Counterterrorism

Popular Posts

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Top Trends

Facebook

More…

Latest

To Top
%d bloggers like this: