The High Court has given Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) three months to sign mutual legal assistance (MLA) pacts with 10 countries for obtaining information and proof required to recover black money stashed abroad.
An HC bench of justices Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Khijir Hayat passed the order on Wednesday (October 26, 2022).
Deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin Manik appeared for BFIU, while advocate Khurshid Alam Khan represented the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
In a report submitted to the court on Tuesday, BFIU said that they had advised the Financial Institutions Division (FID) to sign MLA agreements with at least 10 countries to get necessary help in bringing back laundered money from abroad.
These countries are the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Thailand and Hong Kong (China).
The report also said that "BFIU has asked Bangladesh Bank (BB) to recruit manpower for the proposed ‘Research Cell’ which will help in identifying money launderers and recovering the money."
According to the report, the recruitment process is currently ongoing.
The report added that the sixth meeting of the taskforce, led by the attorney general and formed to recover laundered money, took place on January 3, 2022.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Home Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, FID, ACC, BFIU and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police.
It was decided at the meeting that urgent steps needed to be taken to identify the launderers and bring back black money stashed in foreign banks.
The High Court on August 31 ordered the head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit to form a research cell to prevent money laundering, bring back laundered money, monitor and control it.
Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit head Md Masud Biswas was also directed to submit a progress report regarding the formation of Research Cell by the next hearing set to be held on October 26.
On August 10, the Swiss ambassador in Dhaka Nathalie Chuard said that they have been providing the Bangladesh government with all information regarding deposits of Bangladeshi money in Swiss banks, "but no request has been submitted regarding any particular account".
On August 11, the High Court bench ordered the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission to explain why the government did not seek information of deposits of Bangladesh money stashed in Swiss banks.
On August 14, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit was asked to submit a report in this regard in the affidavit form.
On August 21, following the High Court order, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit's report was submitted stating that the information regarding deposits of 67 Bangladeshis in various Swiss banks was sought from the authorities concerned in Bern.