a year ago

HC orders govt to explain why it hasn't sought info on Swiss bank deposits

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The High Court has questioned the government's apparent lack of initiative to glean information on funds deposited by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks, reports.

The panel of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat on Thursday sought an explanation from the authorities in light of Switzerland Ambassador Nathalie Chuard's revelation that the government had not asked for any specific information on the Swiss bank accounts of its citizens.

The government and the Anti-Corruption Commission have been ordered to respond by Sunday, according to Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Chuard said the government has been informed about the necessary steps that have to be taken to access the data on Bangladeshi account holders in Swiss banks. But no request on particular funds had been submitted, she said.

Highlighting Switzerland's commitment to implementing international standards, she said, “In accordance with these international standards we can also have some specific regulations and agreements with countries to exchange this type of information.”

“We can also work on that with Bangladesh.”

Every year, Switzerland provides a statistical breakdown of which country money in Swiss banks has come from, Chuard said. Bangladesh has received it too.

According to the annual report published by Switzerland's central bank, deposits by Bangladeshis increased nearly 55 per cent to 871.11 million Swiss francs year-on-year in 2021, she said.

Government institutions engaged in tackling corruption and enforcing good governance principles claim most of the money deposited by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks is illegally acquired.

Ministers have also maintained that the government does not have any specific information about money laundering.

However, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal recently said he suspected that 'money laundering under the guise of LCs' could be a factor behind the country's record trade deficit.

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