BFIU pursues APG to go tough against the Philippines

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:15, Jul 08,2019


Bangladesh asked Asia Pacific Group to put pressure on the errant Philippines to be more compliant as inadequate anti-money laundering measures helped cyber thieves to launder $81 million stolen Bangladesh Bank reserve there three years ago. 

The national coordination committee on prevention of money laundering and terror financing made the request at a meeting on Sunday to the visiting APG officials at the secretariat.

The response from the visiting APG team led by David Shannon was positive, said Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit chief Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan while speaking to the reporters after the meeting.

He also said the APG assured them of cooperation in getting information about savings by Bangladeshi citizens in the Swiss banks.        

He said APG, a regional body of the Paris-based Financial Action Taskforce, recommends certain time-bound action plans for its member countries and also reviews implementation of those on the basis of a ‘mutual evaluation’.

Any adverse evaluation leads the member country to face inclusion on the negative list of the FATF and business entities of that country to bear additional fee to maintain financial transactions with their counterparts in complaint countries.

The Philippines was removed from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force in 2013.

The BIFU officials pointed out during the meeting that casinos in the Philippines remained out of purview of the anti-money laundering law that created scopes for laundering Bangladesh Bank reserve stolen from its accounts in Federal Reserve in New York.

Bangladesh Bank filed a case for the recovery of stolen money of about $ 66 million, out of the $ 81 million, with the Federal Court for Southern District of New York in February this year after the diplomatic efforts with Manila did not accrue any results.

One month later, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, RCBC in short, facing a lawsuit in a New York court over suspected cyber theft in Bangladesh Bank, filed a defamation suit against BB.

Law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister Anisul Huq presided over the meeting of the national coordination committee on prevention of money laundering and terror financing in absence of finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

Among others, Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Iqbal Mahmood, BB governor Fazle Kabir, Financial Institutions Division secretary Ashadul Islam attended the meeting.

BFIU chief Razee Hassan, also a former BB deputy governor, informed the meeting about the implementation status of 99 action plans taken to improve the anti-money laundering regime.

David Shannon lauded the country’s efforts to check money laundering and terror financing.

He proposed, according to a press release, technical assistance in establishing asset management mechanism in the country.  

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email