High Court

The High Court (HC) on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into the allegations of Tk 3.5 billion loan approval by AB Bank to a non-existent company named “Brandshare Trading”, reports UNB.

The court asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit a report within three months.

A HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the order after taking cognisance of a report published in a national daily on Tuesday.

The rule sought to know why the inaction of the defendants in taking action against those involved in the loan sanctioning complaint should not be declared illegal and why the authorities concerned should not be identified and directed to take appropriate legal action against them.

ACC chairman, Bangladesh Bank governor, secretary of the Ministry of Finance and secretary of Banks and Financial Institutions of the Ministry of Finance, BFIU, CIED, managing director (MD) of AB Bank have been asked to respond to the rule within two weeks.

Recently, it was revealed that AB Bank approved a loan of Tk 3.5 billion in favour of a shell company -- named Brandshare Trading. A businessman named Mohammad Ali Haider Ratan -- who previously created uproar by withdrawing the loan money from the Gulshan branch of The National Bank at night -- is the beneficiary of the loan.

However, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), which is under the control of the central bank, has already stopped the loan after coming to know about the fraudulent loan.

It has also sought an explanation from the board of directors on sanctioning loans in the name of shell companies.

According to the BFIU report, Ali Haider Ratan currently has a loan of Tk 5.59 billion in five banks. These loans, taken in dubious ways against various government functions, are now defaulted.

The report states that the Board of Directors of AB Bank recently approved a loan of Tk 3.50 billion in the name of a reputed company in the name of “Brandshare Trading”. On 10 January, the bank's Gulshan branch received a loan application. Mohammad Ataur Rahman and Md Mamun Rashid were shown as the owners of the company in the application.

However, its address has been given by Ratan-owned Infratech Construction, whose office is at Midas Centre in Dhanmondi. And the e-mail and website used in the application pad is also owned by another company named Brandwin.

On the same day, three officials of AB Bank, including the Gulshan branch manager, visited the customer's Dhanmondi office and home address and submitted an inspection report. Although there was never any import in the name of the customer company, the report said that the customer imported a large amount of energy, construction materials, chemicals and essential food.

Meanwhile, the BFIU report shows the company was registered in June last year. In November last year, an account was opened at AB Bank's Gulshan branch with a deposit of Tk 10,000. There is no transaction -- even related to import -- beyond that. However, a completely newly registered company is shown as a big company with fake inspection reports.