Eight e-commerce firms launder Tk 7.05 billion

Eight e-commerce companies, including Anonder Bazar, Eorange, and Dhamaka, have laundered a whopping amount of Tk 7.05 billion through the back door of online business.

While investigating cases filed under the money laundering prevention act, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police also uncovered that the money was taken abroad through 'hundi'.

The companies tricked their customers of billions of taka with promises of providing motorbikes, other vehicles and electronic items at huge discounts. Owners of some companies are now leading lavish lives abroad with the clients' money while some others are here living in luxury.

The CID said a number of cases were filed against different e-commerce firms across the country, on allegations of money laundering and deceiving customers. The apex investigation unit of police has already completed investigations of eight such cases.

Of the eight companies, Anonder Bazar siphoned off Tk 3 billion abroad while Eorange Tk 2.32 billion, Dhamaka Tk 1.16 billion, Ring ID Tk 0.37 billion, 24ticket Limited Tk 44 million, SPC World Tk 11 million, Sirajganj Shop Tk 40 million, and Akasnil.com laundered Tk 30 million.

Dalal and Tholay, two other e-commerce firms, also took money abroad illegally, claimed the CID.

In a conversation with Prothom Alo, the special superintendent (SP) of CID police’s organised crime division, Humayun Kabir, said the allegation of money laundering has been substantiated in cases against eight companies. Besides, some other companies are now under police scrutiny.

“We have already pressed charges against an e-commerce company named SPC World. Charges will also be pressed against the remaining seven companies soon,” he added.

A police official who is involved with the investigation process told Prothom Alo that the managing director of Dhamaka, Jashim Uddin Chishti, and his family now lead luxurious lives in the United States.

The deceived clients began filing cases in August last year, after failing to avail products from the online marketplaces. Later, the CID launched probes into 14 e-commerce companies.

The CID found the allegations authentic and sued eight companies. The authorities froze bank accounts of these companies in the further development.

According to police, a total of 105 cases have been filed against 24 companies across the country, on allegations of deceiving customers and siphoning off customers’ money.

Eorange has the highest number of cases, 42, against it in Dhaka, Chattogram and Rangpur while there are 20 cases against the disreputed Evaly in Dhaka, Savar, Faridpur, and Sirajganj. Besides, there are seven cases against Qcom.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested the chief executive officer of Evaly, Mohammad Rassel, and his wife Shamima Nasrin from Mohammadpur area on 16 August last year, in a case filed by a client. Later, Shamima, also chairman of Evaly, was released on bail in April.

Meanwhile, Eorange owner Sonia Mehjabin, her husband Masukur Rahman and Eorange COO Amanullah were arrested from Dhaka for siphoning off Tk 110 billion. However, Sohel Rana, mastermind of Eorange and inspector of Banani Police Station, managed to leave the country.

The e-commerce fraud could not be contained despite all these efforts. A certain Kamrul Islam filed a case against another e-commerce company with Gulshan police station in Dhaka in March, after being deceived.