Bangladesh loses remittance worth Tk 750b in hundi: CID

CID arrested 16 gang of money launderers from Dhaka and Chattogram
Prothom Alo

Bangladesh is deprived of around $7.8 billion (Tk 750 billion) in remittance a year due to the money laundering by at least 5,000 agents of Mobile Financial Service (MFS) in the country.

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) revealed this information at a press conference after arresting 16 members of that hundi gang.

CID chief and additional inspector general (IGP) of police Mohammad Ali Mia said they launched an investigation after the recent instability in the dollar market in the country.

The agents of Bkash, Nagad, Upay and other MFS were involved in laundering money through illegal hundi trading, he added.

The racket has laundered around Tk 250 billion in the last four months, the CID investigation revealed.

CID’s Financial Crime and Cyber Crime Unit has arrested 16 members of the gang from Dhaka and Chattogram.

The CID recovered 34 mobile phones, 3 laptops, 1 tab, 33 SIM cards, 10 cheque books, and cash of Tk 1.04 million (10,46,680) from their possession. Moreover, Tk 34.65 million (3,46,47,229) were found in three of the recovered SIMs.

CID chief Mohammad Ali said the arrested persons confessed to having laundered Tk 207 million in the last four months.

The arrestees are Akter Hossain, 40, Didarul Alam Suman, 34, Khorshed Alam Emon, 22, MFS agent Ruman Kanti Das Joy, 34, Rashed Manjur Firoz, 45, Md Hossainul Kabir, 35, Nabin Ullah, 37, Md Junaidul Haque, 30, Adibur Rahman, 25, Asif Newaz, 27, Farhad Hossain, 25, Abdul Basir, 27, Mahbubur Rahman Selim, 50, Abdul Awal Sohag, 36, Fazle Rabbi, 27, and Shamima Akter, 32.

Rashed Manjur Firoz is chief executive officer of Selim and Brothers, a Bkash agent in Chattogram. Four SIMs of his business had Tk 34.66 million.

Money laundering cases have been filed against the arrested persons with Khilgaon police station, Mohammadpur police station and Kotwali police station in Chattogram.

The CID chief said the hundi-gang works in three groups. Members of a group which operates from abroad collect foreign currencies from the expatriates. The second group pays the converted amount to the MFS agents in Bangladesh. The MFS agents then transfer the money to designated customer numbers.

The CID chief said the money launderers are involved with online gambling, drug trafficking, gold smuggling and yaba business.

Asked if the MFS companies have any fault for the illegal activities of the gang, the CID chief Mohammad Ali Mia said it is the jurisdiction of Bangladesh Bank to investigate it.

As the gang members are agents of MFS, the companies should intensify surveillance in employing agents and monitor their activities, he said adding that the CID would hold meetings with the MFS companies regarding the matter.