A Dhaka court has ordered the Bangladesh authorities to take measures to freeze three accounts of BNP acting chief in exile Tarique Rahman and his wife Zubaida Rahman in a bank in Britain.
Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge KM Imrul Kayes passed the orders on Wednesday after hearing an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) plea seeking permission to launch formal investigation into money-laundering charges against Tarique.
The orders would be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office in Britain through the home ministry, ACC lawyer Mahmud Hossain Zahangir said on Thursday.
“The British Attorney General’s Office will then implement the order."
Suspicious transactions from Bangladesh were made allegedly through the three accounts, two of Tarique and the other of Zubaida, in Santander UK bank, an ACC official said.
Britain’s Financial Intelligence Unit has already frozen the accounts, according to the official who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media about the initial investigation now.
The FIU in Britain has halted transfer of £59,341 to the accounts from an organisation in the UK and the couple were trying to transfer the fund somewhere else, according to the ACC petition.
The money may get out of Bangladesh’s reach if proper steps are not taken now, it told the court in the plea.
ACC Deputy Director Akhter Hamid Bhuiyan is heading the provisional investigation.
Tarique, who has been in London for over a decade ‘for treatment’, was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2016 on charges of siphoning off Tk 204.1 million to Singapore between 2003 and 2007, most of the time when his mother BNP chief Khaleda Zia was the prime minister.
After the seizure of Tk 180 million from an office in Dhaka before the general election in December last year, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) had claimed Tarique had been involved in a plot to influence parliamentary polls with Tk 1.5 billion brought illegally from abroad.
The BNP senior vice-chairman is also sentenced to up to life in jail for corruption and masterminding a deadly grenade attack targeting Sheikh Hasina on Aug 21, 2004.
The party made him acting chairman when Khaleda was jailed in February last year for corruption. She is serving a total of 17 years now.
The government led by Hasina has repeatedly spoken about its desire to bring Tarique back to Bangladesh and make him face justice, bdnews24.com reported.
British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field during a recent visit to Dhaka had reiterated his government’s position to not comment on individual case, but said an extradition request has been made by the Bangladesh government.
There was no extradition agreement between Bangladesh and the UK and that can make things “complicated”, he had pointed out.
Later, BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi had said Tarique is receiving treatment in London and will return home after full recovery.
Tarique, arrested during the 2007-08 emergency on corruption charges, went to London on parole for treatment.
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