brad brace

4/29/2007

'Laundered money' worth $ 47 mn recovered in Bangladesh

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands — admin @ 6:32 am

It’s raining money in Bangladesh as businessmen with political links and suspected of money laundering depositing an equivalent of $47 million with Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank.

Amid a drive to nab those involved in illegal money transfers, the government hopes to recover Taka 30 billion (approximately $500 million), media reports said Saturday.

It has improved the foreign borrowing status of the impoverished nation, categorised as least developed country (LDC). The borrowings have come down from Taka 4.7 billion to Taka 4.3 billion as on last Monday, according to BB sources.

At least one of the seven businessmen involved has close links with former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s jailed politician son Tareq Rahman. The two are business partners, the Daily Star said.

The money deposited in two tranches of Taka 2.3 billion and Taka 40 million is, however, in local currency. But the government is confident of securing deposits in dollars, the newspaper said.

This is a ‘first’ for the nation that is rated high on the chart of corrupt nations by Transparency International and other watchdog bodies. Media reports say that the interim government’s drive against crime and corruption is bearing fruit.

Of the seven businessmen, who deposited the money through pay orders, names of three are known. They are Anis Ahmed Gorki of MGH Group, business partner of Tareq Rahman, Nader Khan, details about whom were not available, and Salman Ispahani of the Ispahani Group, who has been into tea cultivation and marketing before Bangladesh declared independence. However, Ispahani told The Daily Star that he had not deposited any money with the BB.

Gorki was earlier arrested and subsequently released upon his promise to cooperate in refunding the ill-gotten money.

A large portion of the money recovered is supposed to be from a single deal by a consortium of eight Bangladeshi businessmen purchasing 17 tea gardens from a British company for Taka 3.8 billion. The actual price was never disclosed and the payment was made through an unofficial channel illegally.

‘This recovery is almost nothing. But this proves the level of corruption in Bangladesh during the alliance government’s rule,’ the newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying.

The money was coughed up after investigations and raids conducted by ‘joint forces’, a combination of the police, revenue authorities, army and the paramiltiary Rapid Action Battalion.

The Bangladesh government lacks personnel with expertise in unearthing economic crimes of this nature and dimension. When the joint forces launched the anti-corruption drive in February, the US and Britain offered expertise in investigating international financial crimes, said a source. The government has not yet taken that help and the anti-corruption drive has slowed down, the source added.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress