3 B’deshi banks reportedly linked to illicit fund flow

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Dhaka, Sep 22 | Three Bangladeshi banks have been reported to have links with global networks of illicit fund flow, with their names having appeared in suspicious transactions.

Of the three, two Islamic banks brought home $337,733 through four transactions – three with an Australian and one with a Latvian bank.

The third state-owned bank sent $495,204 from the country through four transactions – all in September 2016 – with a German bank.

These eight transactions were extracted from the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN Files as samples to show how suspicious transfers flowed to and from Bangladesh.

The sample disclosure links Bangladesh with a global network of fund flow of more than $ trillion, which suspects to have been laundered or spent in criminal activities between 1999 and 2017.

However, the Bangladeshi banks’ amount of suspicious transactions was very insignificant compared to those of banks in other South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The amount reported for Bangladesh was $8 million, equivalent to above Tk7 crore, while the transaction value was $888.46 million in India, $2.39 million in Pakistan and $99.94 million in Afghanistan, according to the report.

The transactions of Bangladeshi banks were processed via two US-based banks, which filed suspicious activity reports with the FinCEN.

The money from this sample of transactions moved between Bangladesh, the US and three other countries between 2014 and 2016, according to the report.

The documents, known as suspicious activity reports, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with a worldwide consortium of journalists. The more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports, filed by major US and international banks, relate to more than $2 trillion of transactions between 1999 and 2017.

Banks are required to file the reports with the FinCEN about transactions that they believe could be part of a money laundering scheme, fraud or other illegal activity.

Following the revelation, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit said it will investigate if there was any rule breach or money laundering through the transactions.

“These are suspicious transactions and it has not been confirmed that the money laundering rule was breached. These also can be normal business transactions. So, we need to investigate to confirm if there was illicit fund flow,” the unit’s chief Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan said.

Source: IANS

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