S Alam Group: Appellate Division orders status-quo on probe

The High Court building
File photo

The Appellate Division on Wednesday ordered the authorities concerned to maintain a status-quo until 8 January on the High Court's order to investigate allegations over S Alam Group's foreign investments and money transfers without permission from Bangladesh Bank.

The court fixed hearing on the same day before the regular bench of the Appellate Division.

Chamber judge Justice M Enayetur Rahim passed the order in response to S Alam Group’s petition seeking a stay on the High Court's order.

S Alam Group was represented by senior lawyers Ajmalul Hossain KC, Ahsanul Karim, and Sayeed Ahmed.

Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan represented the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Consequently, the investigation into S Alam Group's foreign investment and money transfer allegations will be put on hold until 8 January of the next year, said lawyers of the group.

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The High Court on 6 August asked the authorities concerned to investigate the allegations brought against S Alam Group over transferring money abroad and investing in foreign countries without permission from Bangladesh Bank and submit the report within two months.

The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the suo moto rule when Barrister Syed Sayedul Haque Suman, a prominent lawyer of the Supreme Court, drew the attention of the court after attaching a report published by The Daily Star with the headline "S Alam's Aladdin's lamp".

According to the report, S Alam Group owner Mohammed Saiful Alam has built a business empire in Singapore worth at least about USD 1 billion, although there is no record of him taking permission from Bangladesh Bank to invest or transfer any funds abroad.

The HC also asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit a report to Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit after inquiring into whether there is any money laundering issue or whether S Alam Group took permission from Bangladesh Bank.

It also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the failure of the respondent to prevent the money laundering issue should not be declared illegal.

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The HC issued another rule asking the government to explain why directives should not be given to investigate the allegations against S Alam Group and why necessary steps should not be taken against the person and organisation involved in the incident.

Additionally, Bangladesh Bank was tasked with submitting a report to the High Court indicating whether the funds were transferred abroad with the bank's approval.