A Dhaka court on Sunday (October 8, 2023) sentenced disgraced director of International Leasing and Finance Service Ltd (ILFSL) Proshanto Kumar Halder, also known as PK Halder to 22 years’ of imprisonment in a case over amassing wealth and money laundering. Thirteen other accused in the case were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment each. Judge of Dhaka Special Judge Court-10 Mohammad Nazrul Islam delivered the judgment. The 13 convicts included Sukumar Mridha, Anindita Mridha, Avantika Baral, Shankh Bepari, PK Halder's mother Lilavati Halder, Purnima Rani Halder, Uttam Kumar Mistri, Amitabh Adhikari, Pritish Kumar Halder, Rajib Som, Subrata Das, Anang Mohan Roy and Swapan Kumar Mistri. Read: Court fixes October 8 to deliver verdict in graft case against PK Halder, 13 others Of them, Sukumar Mridha, Anindita Mridha, Avantika Baral and Shankh Bepari were present on the dock during the delivery of the judgment. Earlier on October 4, the court set October 8 for delivering verdict upon ending arguments from the both the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the defendants. Mamunur Rashid Chowdhury, assistant director of Dhaka Integrated District Office of the ACC, filed the case against PK Haldar for acquiring around Tk 275 crore illegally on January 8, 2020. According to the case statement, PK Halder acquired wealth worth almost Tk 275 crore beyond known sources of income through illegal activities and kept them in his possession. Read: India to hand over PK Halder to Bangladesh? The ACC investigated the case and submitted a charge sheet to the court. In the charge sheet, the anti-graft watchdog accused Halder of laundering CAD 1.17 crore to Canada through illegal means. A Dhaka court framed charges against the accused on September 8, 2021. On May 13 this year, India's federal economic offences police arrested PK Halder and his two associates from the eastern state of West Bengal. He is now in an Indian jail. Read more:Trial of graft case against PK Halder begins
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". High Court orders submission of list of top drug traffickers 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. High Court orders investigation into alleged money laundering by Biopharma 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. High Court questions hike in price of performing hajj "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.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (July 19, 2023) said the government is trying to bring back the money siphoned off by BNP leaders to different countries. “The money of many BNP leaders remains frozen (in foreign banks). We’ve been trying to bring these back gradually,” she said. Hasina, also president of Bangladesh Awami League (AL), was addressing a meeting of the AL-led 14-party alliance held at her official residence Ganabhaban in the evening. Also read: Denmark keen to invest in offshore wind energy in Bangladesh: Envoy Criticising the family of BNP leader Khaleda Zia for ‘their corruption’, she said the World Bank stopped financing during the BNP regime due to corruption in the road sector. The PM said the corruption committed by Khaleda Zia’s two sons Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko got revealed even before the foreigners and an FBI agent testified against Tarique in a money laundering case. She said the government was able to return Tk 40 crore from the amount of money they (Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko) laundered to foreign countries. “But the problem is that bringing back the money from the countries where they deposited is a difficult matter. The countries don’t want to release the money,” she added. Also read: Need to transform education system to build Smart Bangladesh: PM Hasina tells educators Focusing on her government’s success, the prime minister said Bangladesh has significantly advanced in every sector since 2009 during the regime of her government. “We can at least claim that Bangladesh has changed a lot in the last 14 and a half years. You can definitely realize it as well,” she said. Hasina said her government has successfully brought the poverty rate down to 18.6 percent now from 41 percent in 2006, while the extreme poverty rate to 5.7 percent from 25.1 percent. She said the government has been able to boost the production of foods including crops, fish, meat and vegetable, as well as provided free semi-pucca houses to 600,000 landless families and reached electricity facility to every house by raising power generation capacity significantly. Also read: Govt is always with you: PM Hasina tells businesspeople “We’ve achieved the electricity generation capacity to 25,000 megawatts within the 14 and a half years,” she said. The PM said there is no shortage of rice and other crops in Bangladesh. Noting that the government is setting up 100 special economic zones to generate employment, the PM said the unemployment rate came down to only 3 percent in the country. Also read: US visa policy to supplement govt commitment to hold free election: Uzra Zeya tells PM She said the government continues its steps to create entrepreneurs by providing different stimulus packages and training to the youth to bring down the unemployment rate further. “We’ve taken and implemented massive works not only for the infrastructural development of Bangladesh but also for its socio-economic upliftment,” she said. PM Hasina said Bangladesh today is considered as a role model for development throughout the world. Also read: Staying away from corruption can make possible the impossible: PM Hasina tells govt officials
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested five members of an online gambling gang from Khulna for allegedly laundering money through online gambling platforms. They were arrested in a raid in Khulna’s Rupsa upazila on Thursday night. The arrestees were identified as Md. Rajib, Md. Enamul Gazi, Md. Mehedi Hasan, Md. Idris Mollah and Md. Mamun. According to a press release by the RAB, a group of people in Khulna’s Rupsa upazila have been laundering money through online gambling apps like 1XBET and Velki Live. The ring used to illegally transact money from around the country using Bkash, Nagad and other mobile financial services. Also Read: Money laundering through online gambling platforms: 6 arrested in city Tipped off, the elite force conducted a raid in Khulna’s Rupsa upazila on Wednesday night and arrested the five ring members, including the mastermind. During the raid, the RAB recovered and seized at least five Android smartphones used for online betting. Later, information regarding online gambling, and illegal transactions of both dollars and local currencies through multiple mobile financial services (Bkash, Nogod, Rocket, and Upay) was obtained from various messenger groups found in the recovered mobile phone. The arrestees were later handed over to the concerned police station. END/UNB/FK/F
Nagad, the mobile financial service arm of Bangladesh Postal Department, organised two separate workshops to raise awareness among its “Uddoktas” in Chattogram and Cumilla on how to check money laundering and combat terrorist financing while conducting MFS transactions. The workshop titled “Let’s prevent financial transactions through ‘hundi’, let’s all build a beautiful Bangladesh”, was held recently in Chattogram with Md Shahid Ullah, market director (East Operation) of Nagad, in the chair. M Nurul Alam, FCS, chief anti-money laundering compliance officer of Nagad, graced the occasion as the chief guest. Regional and head office officials were also present at the event. Ahammad Ali, assistant general manager of Nagad’s Compliance Department, presented a keynote. Regional sales managers of Cumilla and Chattogram Mehedi Ahmed Siddique and Md Shamimul Hasan Chowdhury respectively moderated the two discussions. Read: Nagad wins Mastercard Excellence Award 2022 in two categories Speakers at the event apprised Nagad Uddoktas of the necessity of reining in money laundering and terrorist financing while running their operations. They also made them aware of potential risk factors, illegal hundi, online betting, and other digital crimes. They also shed light on reporting suspicious transactions and case studies related to fraud. The programme mainly focused on checking remittance inflows through illegal channels and illegal transactions of cryptocurrencies. The officials discussed how remittance inflows through legal channels have a positive impact on the economy. M Nurul Alam, chief anti-money laundering compliance officer of Nagad, thanked channel partners for participating in the workshop. Mentioning that Uddoktas can play a crucial role in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, he urged everyone to work together to prevent all kinds of misuse of Nagad platform by any wrongdoers. Read: Nagad Islamic, Islami Bank team up for seamless financial services He also expressed hope that such awareness activities will be held frequently in all parts of the country as part of Nagad’s compliance activities. Stating that the main driving force of Nagad’s management is its Uddoktas and strong channel partners, Md Shahid Ullah, market director (East Operation) of Nagad, urged all to be aware of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Sunday said his ministry will soon form a committee to strengthen monitoring and vigilance to check soaring prices of essential commodities. Bangladesh Bank will also form a crisis management committee to monitor the market and supervise the import of goods, the minister said. He was talking to reporters after a meeting with the representatives of the chamber and trade bodies at the Secretariat in Dhaka. Munshi said both committees will monitor the stock, supply and import of some basic commodities so that consumers can buy at an affordable price during upcoming Ramadan. Also read: Tipu Munshi seeks more US investment Replying to a query commerce minister said the government will not hold the LCs which quotes the real price of imported items. The commerce ministry, the central bank and National Board of Revenue (NBR) are working jointly to check money laundering through manipulation of the export income and import costs, Munshi said.
Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has suspended cash out from 230 accounts of Mobile Financial Service (MFS) for their involvement in the transfer of remittances through hundi, an unauthorised channel. The BFIU has taken the initiative to prevent transfer of remittances through hundi and increase remittances through legal channel. According to BFIU, the customers concerned will not be able to withdraw money from these accounts until further instructions, but money can be sent to these accounts. Read: BFIU launched standalone website to strengthen awareness against money laundering The suspended accounts are with bKash, Nagad, upay, and Rocket.
Generally, a suspicious transaction report (STR) means a formatted report of suspicious transactions or activities where there are reasonable grounds to believe that funds are the proceeds of predicate offense or may be linked to terrorist activity or the transactions do not seem to be in the usual manner. Despite strengthening monitoring to stop money laundering, STR has increased in Bangladesh by 62.32 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22. Despite strengthening monitoring to stop money laundering, suspicious transaction report (STR) has increased by 62.32 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22. Read: BFIU gets 3 months to sign legal pacts with 10 countries to bring back black money According to a report of Bangladesh Financial Intelligent Unit (BFIU), a concern of Bangladesh bank, 8571 STR occurred in FY22; it was 5280 in FY21. In a fiscal year, STR has increased by 3291 or 62.32 percent. Earlier in FY20, there were 3675 suspicious transaction reports while in FY19 such transactions were 3573, BFIU’s latest annual report said. BFIU presented the details of the report during a press conference at Bangladesh Bank on Monday. The central bank’s Executive Director and BFIU head Masud Biswas shared the information with media. Read: BFIU summons WASA chief Taqsem’s bank account details He said not all suspicious transaction reports are crimes. “If there is evidence of any crime, we take action,” he said. So far, action has been taken against clients and related parties of many banks and financial institutions, he said. According to the BFIU report, banks have submitted a maximum of 7999 suspicious transaction reports in Bangladesh in the entire financial year. In the previous financial year, the banks submitted 4495 reports. Financial institutions submitted 106 reports. Exchange houses have submitted 457 reports. Read More: Banks instructed to campaign for bringing back laundered money Central Bank Executive Director and Spokesperson GM Abul Kalam Azad, BFIU Director Rafiqul Islam, and Additional Director Kamal Hossain among others were present at the press conference.
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). Read: HC orders BFIU to form research cell to bring back laundered money 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." Read Black money whitening got little response in FY 22: NBR data 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. Read Finance bill 2022 passed with limits on proposal to whiten black money 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.
Coming down heavily on BNP, PM Sheikh Hasina has said they raise questions about the election and human rights, but during their regimes, human rights were violated at every step. The premier was addressing a civic reception on Saturday, accorded to her by the Bangladeshi community in New York, US. “They (BNP) are champions in vote-rigging. Starting from incorporating 1.23 crore fake voters, there’s no misdeed they haven’t committed,” she said. Read: Give fitting response to propaganda against us: PM to expat Bangladeshis The PM said Awami League believes in people’s rights and protects those rights. “Awami League ensured the voting rights of people in this country,” she said, adding that AL gave back voting rights to people, which once remained confined in the cantonment. Social development happened in Bangladesh thanks to the continuation of the democratic system since 2009, she said. Read:PM: Returning from UNGA with friendship for Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina said BNP tried time and again to disrupt the democratic system by unleashing arson attacks and killings, and imposing blockades. Blasting Zia’s family, PM Hasina said Khaleda Zia was convicted in a graft case for misappropriating funds for orphans while his son Tarique Rahman for money laundering and 10-truck arms haul case. She said Bangladesh government had also brought back the money that was illegally siphoned off by Zia’s other son, the late Koko. Read UN experts seek more help for human rights defenders in push for accountability in Myanmar She said her government has been working for the welfare of Bangladeshi expatriates after giving a brief description of the efforts. Praising the expatriates, Sheikh Hasina said they always stand by Bangladesh during its times of need.