Eighty per cent of money is being smuggled every year through the nose of the regulator under the guise of import and export. These funds are going from Bangladesh to 36 countries of the world. Most are going to 10 countries. Most of which is being deposited in the Swiss bank. Economists have identified five main causes of money laundering. These include a lack of investment climate, fears of political instability, poor oversight of state institutions, lack of rule of law and reckless corruption.
Meanwhile, even though the amount is small, various apps are becoming a new means of money laundering. Recently, hundreds of crores of rupees have been smuggled every month through Bigo Live and Like. It has been seen that Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has collected 1,024 reports of money laundering in the last 5 years. Terrible news has also been found in the data of foreign organizations. Even then the case has not been heard. They are also stuck in legal complications. The ACC says it is not possible to recover the money until the case is settled. And analysts allege that money laundering is on the rise because the government is not sincere. So this time to stop money laundering, new laws are being enacted to monitor the movement of money transactions digitally. Besides, some existing laws will also be amended. However, the ACC lawyers have demanded the death penalty for money laundering.
Research Institute Policy Research Institute Executive Director. Ahsan H Mansoor told Bhorer Kagoj that it is not possible to fix the price of any product. Again, it is not possible to determine the price through the bank. So the customs have to do that. Why is money laundering on the rise? In response to such a question, Ahsan H. Mansoor gave five reasons. He said the country’s money laundering was taking place due to lack of investment climate, fear of political instability, poor oversight of state institutions, lack of rule of law and reckless corruption. Asked if money laundering is reducing the opportunity to launder black money, he said the money that goes out of the country never comes back. So money laundering has nothing to do with money laundering.
It is known that money laundering from Bangladesh has been going on for a long time. However, a new discussion came in September 2019. Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, president (later expelled) of Dhaka Metropolitan South Juba League, was arrested in an anti-casino operation. The ACC got information about the smuggling of Tk 228 crore against him in Singapore. The news of buying a house by withdrawing money outside the country is also old. But this time the names of the members of parliament have come. Natore-2 MP Shafiqul Islam Shimul’s wife, Jannati, has been reported to have bought a house in Begampara, Canada for Tk 12.5 crore. Even without being a resident, it is easy to own a home in Canada. Only 15 percent tax has to be paid on the total price. The source of money does not have to be informed. And so Canada is constantly becoming a preferred destination for money launderers. According to the Canadian government agency FinTruck, 1,562 rupees have been smuggled into the country in the last one year. Developed countries are eager to take the money of developing countries into their economies, mainly with the temptation of tax-free, unquestionable investment opportunities. According to the data of all the global organizations that are involved in money laundering, money is being smuggled from Bangladesh to 36 countries of the world. However, the economies of 10 countries have been the strongest. These countries include Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Hong Kong and Thailand. Over-invoicing, under-invoicing, and hundi are popular means of money laundering.
Various organizations, including Global Financial Integrity, say about 80 percent of money is laundered through these channels. But the bank has nothing to do with resisting this strategy; Instead, the customs have to do what they have to do.
Bureaucrats do not go less in money laundering. Foreign Minister said in November last year. Abdul Momen himself. Speaking on the sidelines of the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity’s Meet the Press, he said that Bangladeshis in Toronto, Canada had been secretly searched. My idea was that the number of politicians would be higher; But the information that has come to me is that in terms of numbers, many of our government employees have more houses there and their children live there.
“I have received 28 cases and four of them are politicians,” he said. Apart from this, there are some traders in our ready-made garment industry. We are collecting more information. However, the situation is similar not only in Canada but also in Malaysia. However, it is very difficult to get information. The information that comes out in various media, thousands of crores of rupees are being smuggled, in fact the number is not that much. He said foreign governments could not avoid the responsibility of trafficking. For example, in Switzerland, the information about who kept the money in the bank is not given to us. They speak of transparency; But if I tell you who has the money, give that information, then they don’t give. This is a double standard.
Then on June 8, taking part in the budget discussion in the parliament, the finance minister said, I don’t have a list of who takes the money. Addressing the opposition MPs, he said, “Give us the names.” It will be easy for us to do the job. But analysts say the list should remain with the finance minister. Various government agencies collect information in this regard. From there he can easily get the list.
It is learned that in the last 5 years, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit has collected 1024 reports of money laundering. Terrible news has also been found in the data of foreign organizations. According to various sources including GFI, about 5 lakh crore rupees was smuggled from Bangladesh in 2020. The deposit of Bangladeshis in Swiss Bank is 5,400 crore rupees. Information about the money laundering of 64 Bangladeshis has also come in Panama and Paradise Papers. But the case has not been heard. When asked, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said, 6 cases of money laundering have been registered between 2016-20. 50 cases have been charged and are on trial. The remaining 26 cases are being investigated. These take a long time to come to court, it takes a long time to settle the matter. Every step is challenged. There are anti-money laundering laws to prevent money laundering. Bangladesh has also become a member of the 159-nation Egmond Group, an alliance for the prevention of terrorist financing and money laundering. But nothing is happening at work.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director. Iftekharuzzaman said in this context, lack of goodwill, lack of transparency and determination is one of the reasons for the failure to prevent money laundering. A large portion of those involved in money laundering are nationals of Ruikatla; Those are actually related to power and politics. That is why they are not touched. The government has given the opportunity to launder black money many times without any question. Lawyers say such a provision in the money bill incites the mentality of keeping money undisclosed.
Tk 5,400 crore of Bangladeshis in Swiss banks: The Central Bank of Switzerland has released updated statistics on the presence of money in the name of Bangladeshi individuals and organizations in Swiss banks. According to the recently published statistics, at the end of 2020, there are 56 crore 3 lakh Swiss francs in the name of Bangladesh in various banks in Switzerland. In Bangladeshi currency (Rs. 95 per franc) which amounts to about Rs. 5,400 crore. In 2019, it was 61 crore Swiss francs or about 5,600 crore rupees. As a result, the amount in the name of Bangladesh has decreased a bit compared to the previous year. However, deposits in the name of Bangladeshi customers have increased a lot.
A portion of the money in Swiss banks is thought to have been smuggled. However, no specific information about trafficking is available. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Switzerland’s central bank, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), has said in a statement that the data will be kept confidential. All data has been published in an integrated manner in the interest of privacy. There is no separate customer information.
Abu Hena Moha, head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU). Razi Hassan said most of the money held in the name of Bangladesh in Swiss banks is foreign trade. The money that the customer has as a deposit includes the money of Bangladeshis living in Switzerland and other countries. It is suspected that a portion of the customer’s deposit may have been smuggled.
Asked if the BFIU had any specific information on the matter, he said they had earlier contacted the FIU in Switzerland. But they did not provide any information containing the list of persons. Switzerland said it could co-operate in providing information if it provided evidence that someone had taken money illegally. However, no progress has been made so far.
According to the Swiss Bank, the amount of deposits deposited by Bangladeshis was the highest in 2016 in the last few years. At that time the amount of deposit stood at 8 crore 19 lakh Swiss francs. Although it decreased in 2016 (48 crore 13 lakh francs), it increased again in 2017 (81 crore 8 lakh francs). After that, the amount of money accumulated in 2019 and 2020 is seen to decrease.
New law to stop money laundering, demand for death penalty provision: Money laundering law-2002 is the first direct law in Bangladesh to prevent money laundering. The sentence was a minimum of six months, a maximum of seven years in prison. And a fine of twice the amount involved in the crime. The next law was passed in 2009. Although the punishment for imprisonment is the same, provision is made for the confiscation of all property associated with the crime. The old law was repealed and the new law came into force in January 2012. Jail-fines are increased, both. However, the lawyers are not satisfied with that either. ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said the maximum sentence was not sufficient under the current law. The ACC lawyer demanded that the provision of life imprisonment or death penalty be implemented to prevent money laundering. The finance minister does not want to rely on the current law to stop money laundering. So he took the initiative to make a new law. A few more old laws will be amended.
Until the money laundering law was amended in 2015, the ACC was the only one responsible for investigating money laundering from 26 types of crimes. Now only one, money laundering through bribery and corruption is under the jurisdiction of the ACC. The rest are the responsibility of NBR, CID, BSEC, Department of Narcotics Control and Environment.
Source: Bhorer Kagoj by www.bhorerkagoj.com.
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