Biden administration set to impose sanctions on more Bangladeshi nationals


Following imposition of sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Inspector General of Police and few other officers of RAB, Biden administration now is going to issue fresh list of sanctions targeting a large number of civil servants and politicians in Bangladesh. According to Capitol Hill sources, the Biden administration has decided to adopt a stricter policy on combating corruption. As part of this policy, US President Joe Biden is going to impose sanctions on a large number of civil servants and politicians in Bangladesh.

The policy states that those who purchased properties in the United States and deposited cash through money laundered from abroad would be asked to submit specific evidence showing such properties were not purchased with dirty money. Failing in providing such evidence will result in confiscation of assets and freezing of bank accounts. The US administration will publish list of the sanctioned individuals once punitive measures are taken.

A highly-placed source in the Biden administration told this correspondent that President Joe Biden is putting special emphasis in combating corruption and money laundering under its policy of checking global corruption. As part of this initiative, an investigation has already been launched on gathering details about properties purchased by foreigners through laundered cash.

According to the US administration sources, such actions are not only going to be taken against Bangladeshi civil servants and politicians, but it also will be applied on a large number of individuals from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and other South Asian nations as well as nations in Asia and other continents. The source said, dozens of Bangladeshi bureaucrats and politicians are already on the potential list of sanctions. It said, the fresh list of sanctions will be published by the first quarter of 2022.

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Meanwhile, seeking anonymity, a highly placed intelligence source told Blitz that a large number of high-profile politicians, businessmen and civil-military bureaucrats may come under the new sanction list.

It said, since 2001, the trend of buying properties in the US and depositing large amount of cash in banks by Bangladeshi nationals have reached an alarming level. Such amounts were laundered into the United States mostly through illegal hawala channels operated by Bangladeshi nationals living in New York City and other parts of the country.

The source further said, initially it was anticipated that majority of the people who had purchased properties in the United States with dirty money were politicians from Bangladesh. But the recent investigations have found that most of these people are bureaucrats.

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The source said, until now, the US administration has already detected hundreds of properties purchased with dirty money mostly by bureaucrats. Owners of these properties will be asked to submit valid documents showing the amount were earned through legal means and transferred to the United States through banking channels. Anyone failing in providing such evidences will face sanctions and their properties will be confiscated and bank accounts frozen.

The US administration has also detected several properties and bank accounts which are even owned by some serving Bangladeshi bureaucrats.

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Another source said, Jamaat-e-Islami leader and war criminal Mir Qashem Ali’s family has purchased properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Barrister Abdur Razzak, another leader of Jamaat-e-Islami and Surendra Kumar Sinha, former Chief Justice in Bangladesh are owning properties in the US.

Frantic bids of BNP-Jamaat lobbyists

A source in Capitol Hill told Blitz that at least four lobbyists firms are currently working for Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JIB), who are making frantic bids in getting dozens of Bangladeshi politicians and civil-military bureaucrats under sanctions.

It said, list of corrupt individuals from Bangladesh along with specific evidences are being submitted with key policymakers of the Biden administration and top intelligence officials with the suggestions of initiating investigation and imposing sanctions.

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