HC wants details of depositors in foreign banks

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The High Court on Sunday ordered the head of Bangladesh’s financial intelligence unit to submit to the court details of individuals and business entities who allegedly laundered and held their money in Swiss and foreign banks, before March 6.

The court also asked the chairman of the anti-corruption commission and the head of the police’s criminal investigation department to submit progress reports on the investigations into the allegations of money laundering and investment in offshore companies. by the individuals and business entities, whose names appeared in the leaks. Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, same date.

An online bench of Judge Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Judge Md Mostafizur Rahman has released the new guidelines on reviewing two sets of money launderer lists. Bangladesh Bank and BFIU jointly submitted a list, which included the names of 69 individuals and seven business entities.

ACC submitted the other list containing the names of 61 individuals and business entities.

Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin told the court that the BFIU could obtain information on 10 of the 69 suspected money launderers, whose names were published in various newspapers referring to the Panama and Paradise Papers leaked during the first week of April 2016.

He said the BFIU obtained information on 10 suspected money launderers from financial intelligence units in various countries and forwarded the reports to the ACC and other law enforcement agencies for further information. legal proceedings.

ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told the court he was investigating BFIU intelligence reports.

He said that the ACC could not inform the court unless it obtained information from the foreign countries concerned through a mutual legal assistance request under the United Nations Convention against Corruption and Money Laundering. ‘silver.

The court reprimanded the ACC and the BFIU, saying that the names of the natural and legal persons provided to the court had previously been published in various print and electronic media.

“Provide the information, if any, collected from the relevant foreign nations under the mutual legal assistance request, which was created to prevent money laundering between signatory nations,” the court observed.

The list of money launderers was submitted to the High Court by the ACC on Sunday and the BFIU on Thursday after taking time off four times since February 28, 2021.

The court had initially asked the authorities to submit to it on March 30, 2021 the names, statutes and addresses of the natural and legal persons who deposited their money in Swiss and foreign banks.

The court had issued the directive on February 28, 2021 after hearing a public interest writ petition from Supreme Court lawyers Abdul Kaium Khan and Subir Nandi Das challenging government inaction against money launderers.

Kaium asked the court to set up a special investigative commission headed by a former Supreme Court to oversee the activities of the ACC, BFIU and CID regarding the investigation of money laundering and the recovery of money. money back, in light of a verdict by India’s Supreme Court, as there has been no progress in investigating the money laundering issue in a year since he took the case to court.

The court had also asked the ACC, the central bank and the BFIU to report to the court on the action they had taken against the suspected money launderers.

Earlier, the special branch of the police submitted a list of 13,931 dual citizenship holders living in many foreign countries.

Among them, 10,773 are American, 617 Indian, 568 British, 388 Canadian, 185 Australian, 176 Chinese, 120 Pakistani, 117 Italian, 65 Japanese, 76 Malaysian, 22 Nepalese, 57 Sri Lankan, 25 Thai citizens, 52 Swedish and 22 Swiss citizens, according to the report.

Police submitted the list in accordance with a directive issued by the High Court on December 21, 2020, as the government and Anti-Corruption Commission failed to provide details of those who laundered money overseas, including including in Canada, the United States and Australia, and building and transporting homes overseas through bribery and money laundering.

The High Court, in a suo motu decision dated November 22, 2020, asked the government and the ACC to provide details of the money launderers after considering a remark by the Foreign Secretary published in newspapers on November 19, 2020.

Neither the government nor the ACC could submit a list of money launderers in Canada.

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