News | Culture | Lifestyle|Thursday, April 25, 2019

BASIC Bank ‘laundered money’ 

The beleaguered BASIC Bank is facing accusations that it abetted in laundering of money from Bangladesh on top of irregularities in loan disbursement.

A Bangladesh Bank investigation report has set forth this startling discovery.

After finishing the inspection of its Gulshan branch, Bangladesh Bank officials said the bank deliberately hid details of some LC documents — 21 exports LCs of 10 companies — from the central Bank from September 2012 to July 2013.

Branch officials also failed to produce before the central bank inspectors documents that export earnings had really been sent to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bank suspended operations of its three branches, including the Gulshan branch, when a series of allegations about corruption and irregularities surfaced against the government-run bank.

According to the report, 10 companies had exported $550,347 worth of goods abroad. But the branch officials did not notify the central bank about their LC transactions.

Export earnings of another company worth $107,956 have yet to arrive in the country though the deadline is over.

Rules have it that copies of LC documents have to be sent to Bangladesh Bank within 14 days after the export goods are shipped. Any deviation of that rule is a punishable offence.

Export earnings have to be sent to the country of origin within 120 days after the goods are shipped.

Bangladesh Bank officials told bdnews24.com keeping the central bank in the dark about export documents was a suspicious act.

Ill-intention comes into play when banks hide this information and they do so to evade responsibility when there is a case of laundering export earnings, they observed.

A Bangladesh Bank official on the condition of anonymity said, “We look into which companies hide their LC information, which companies have not brought back their export earnings and whether directors of these companies are somehow related to management or executive committees of banks.”

bdnews24.com’s calls to the Basic Bank acting managing director for comments on this matter went unanswered.

The Bangladesh Bank investigation committee had found loan fraud to the tune of Tk 15 billion. Later it also found irregularities in Tk 10 billion loan disbursement.

On 17 April, BASIC Bank board of directors fired Gulshan branch manger and Deputy Managing director Shifer Ahmed and Head of Loan Department Zahid Hasan.

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