The High Court on Sunday (August 06, 2023) asked the authorities concerned to investigate the allegations brought against S Alam Group over "transferring money abroad and investing in foreign countries without permission from Bangladesh Bank" and submit the report within two months.
The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the sue moto rule when Barrister Syed Sayedul Haque Suman, a prominent lawyer of the Supreme Court, drew the attention of the court after attaching a report published by The Daily Star with the headline "S Alam's Aladdin's lamp".
The HC also asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit a report to Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit after inquiring into whether there is any money laundering issue or whether S Alam Group took permission from Bangladesh Bank.
It also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the failure of the respondent to prevent the money laundering issue should not be declared illegal.
The HC issued another rule asking the government to explain why directives should not be given to investigate the allegations against S Alam Group and why necessary steps should not be taken against the person and organisation involved in the incident.
Barrister Syed Sayedul Haque Suman was present, while senior lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan stood for ACC and Deputy Attorney General Saifuddin Khaled represented the state.
Earlier, on August 4, The Daily Star published a report titled "S Alam's Aladdin's lamp".
According to the report, S Alam Group owner Mohammed Saiful Alam has built a business empire in Singapore worth at least about USD 1 billion, although there is no record of him taking permission from Bangladesh Bank to invest or transfer any funds abroad.
The central bank has so far allowed 17 companies to invest outside the country, and the Chattogram-based business giant is not on that list, says the report. Yet in Singapore, Alam bought at least two hotels, two homes, one retail space, and other properties over the last one decade, all the while seeking to remove his name from the paper trails, it adds.
"As of January 10, 2023, the central bank has cleared roughly about USD 40.15 million to be invested abroad globally, a Bangladesh bank document shows. The figure is 10 times less than what Alam has spent just to buy two hotels and one retail space – worth over USD 411.8 million – in Singapore since 2009," the report says.
"The Bangladesh Bank document also shows that just over USD 107,000 have so far been sent to Singapore legally by a number of companies, and none of them is owned by Alam," The Daily Star report says.