3 Bangladeshi banks in ‘suspicious’ transactions: leaked US data

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:24, Sep 23,2020


An amount of $3.38 lakh entered Bangladesh and another $4.95 lakh flew from the country through ‘suspicious’ transactions in three banks in Bangladesh between 2000 and 2017, showed leaked US government data.

The data of the US treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN, showed that eight ‘suspicious’ transactions were carried out by state-owned Rupali Bank, Islami Bank and Social Islami banks during the period.

More than 2,500 FinCEN documents, mostly files that hundreds of banks sent to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017, were leaked by US-based Buzzfeed News, and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The ICIJ is a Washington-based independent international network of more than 200 investigative journalists and 100 media organisations in over 70 countries.

It said that a massive sum of dirty money had allegedly flowed for years through some of the world’s largest banking institutions.

The documents are related to $2 trillion in transactions that took place in 2000-2017 while the Bangladesh banks’ transactions in question are worth around Tk 7 crore in total at current value of the dollar.

The ICIJ investigation points in particular to five major banks — JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon — accused of continuing to move assets of alleged criminals, even after being prosecuted or convicted for financial misconduct.

The data showed that in Bangladesh, state-owned Rupali Bank sent $4,95,204 to Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG in four ‘suspicious’ transactions.

Islami Bank Bangladesh received $3,36,133 in three ‘suspicious’ transactions from Australia-based Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in three transactions.

Social Islami Bank received $1,600 in a single transaction from Latvia-based Regionala Investiciju Banka.

Funds worth $8,32,937 in total were transferred to and from Bangladesh via two banks — The Bank of New York Mellon Corp and Standard Chartered Plc.

Asked about the ‘suspicious’ transactions of the three banks, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit head Abu Hena Mohammad Razi Hasan on Tuesday told New Age that the FinCEN had taken steps in this regard and it would investigate why the transactions were identified as suspicious.

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