No action against money laundering

Staff Correspondent, Dhaka | Update:

.The concerned government agencies have so far taken no steps against those named in the Panama Papers, Offshore Leaks and Paradise Papers.

Bangladesh Bank said it had provided information to the Anti-Corruption Commission and that the commission should take steps to this end. The anti-graft body said they were monitoring the situation.
As many as 20 Bangladeshis have been named in the latest edition of the Paradise Papers published by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The report said the Bangladeshis had opened offshore companies in Malta, a nation in southern Europe. Although the ICIJ report did not reveal details of their businesses, experts believed these companies were formed to launder black money.
Till date, 87 Bangladeshis have been named in the three lists - 24 in Panama Papers, 32 in Offshore Leaks and 31 in the Paradise Papers (11 in the first list and 20 in the latest one).
Bangladesh Bank’s deputy governor Abu Hena Md Razee Hassan, who is also the chief of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), told Prothom Alo on Friday that they had sent a list of the names to the ACC. The BFIU took the help of various foreign quarters in preparing the report.
The ACC will now decide on the fate of these people, said the BB governor.
ACC deputy director (public relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said they had noted the media reports containing the names. On Sunday they will apprise the higher authorities of the matter.
Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik said it is permissible to open a company in a different country if the funds invested belongs to that particular country. But the source of this money is Bangladesh.
“How did this money go there? We know the answer. It is money laundering. BB has an intelligence unit and should deal with the issue. Legal action should be taken against these individuals.”
Following the ICIG information, this correspondent contacted four persons of the persons in Dhaka on Thursday - Mahtaba Rahman, Farhan Akibur Rahman, Amanullah Chagola and Fazle Elahi Chowdhury.
Mahtaba Rahman is a shareholder of Selcon Shipping Company Ltd. She was not found at DOHS address given on the list. A certain Mahmudur Rahman was found at the address. He is also a director of Selcon Shipping Company and his name was in the Paradise Papers. Mahmudur Rahman said, “These lists are bogus. I don’t know how these names and addresses came appeared on these lists. This is humiliating.”
He said Mahtaba was his ex-wife, “We have been divorced since 2003 and are not in contact with each other.” He also said he owns a garments factory at Mirpur. His son looks after it.
Farhan Akibur Rahman is a shareholder of Intrepid group. He was not found at the given address on road 51 in Gulshan on Thursday.
Amanullah Chagla was not also found at his address on road 8, Baridhara DOHS. Amanullah registered the Padma Textile Company in 2009 in Malta.
Fazle Elahi Chowdhury was not found at his address of road 7 DOHS, Baridhara. Fazle Elahi is registered as a director of Dynamic Energy Holdings in Malta in 2016.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Quamrul Hassan.

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