The Financial Express

Preparation underway to get back funds laundered abroad

Taskforce meets Monday trying to track on int'l sleuth tipoff huge amounts taken out illegally

| Updated: March 05, 2018 10:03:49

Preparation underway to get back funds laundered abroad

The government moves to make mechanisms to bring back huge money siphoned off the country through various conduits, including false trade declarations.

Officials said an inter-agency taskforce, which has been re-structured recently for gearing up the combat, will sit for its first meeting Monday to chalk out possible measures to get back the money, which, by one account, ballooned to US$61.63 billion in a decade to 2014. 

Committee convener Attorney-General Mahbubey Alam will preside over the meeting to be held in the conference room of Bangladesh Supreme Court.

A senior central bank official told the FE that people from various quarters allegedly siphon off billions of taka every year by various means.

Citing a study report of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) he said the money is being smuggled out primarily through four ways: over-and under invoicing, over-and under shipment, multiple invoices, and falsely declared goods and services.

Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank and member-secretary of the taskforce Mizanur Rahman Joddar told the FE over telephone that there are no data with them about how much money so far taken out of the country illegally.

The matter came in the limelight in a bigger way as, in recent years, several global integrity agencies published reports on capital flights from different countries through illegal channels.

The taskforce may take into account findings in those reports for calculating how much money has so far been laundered, according to officials.

A Washington-based research body styled Global Financial Integrity in a report titled 'Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) to and from Developing Countries: 2005-2014' mentioned some US$61.63 billion had been laundered from Bangladesh during the period.

On average, it said, $6.16 billion was siphoned off every year during the period, but in 2013 the amount reached as high as $9.66 billion.

Latest total of fund flight, it is assumed, could further swell to a greater figure as the tide couldn't be stemmed rather there had been newer disclosures over monetary the underworld.           

Officials said in the recent years, capital flight occurred in large amounts from Bangladesh. They mentioned that names of a good number of Bangladeshi businessmen appeared in the Panama Paper and Paradise Papers leaks which say they made offshore investment in some tax havens.

"We need to trace out the money and also create pressure on the businessmen to bring back the money," said one official.

Finance Minster AMA Muhith last year told newsmen that reform of various laws and rules is necessary to stop the draining out of money by unscrupulous people.

 "We will reform some laws to stop money laundering," he said.

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