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Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit has reportedly found another incident of money laundering of Tk 340 crore by AB Bank Ltd.
The money was siphoned off to Singapore, Dubai and the United States from AB Bank through its Offshore Banking Unit between 2014 and 2015, said a probe report of the unit of the Bangladesh Bank.
According to the probe, AB Bank siphoned off the money in the name of loans for three foreign companies — Sematcity General Trading LLC, ATZ Communications Pte Ltd and Euro Cars Holdings Pte Ltd.
Following the report, the Anti-Corruption Commission already started inquiry into the money laundering by the bank.
The commission also filed a case against some former and current top AB Bank officials in early 2018 on accusing them of siphoning off about Tk 167 crore to the United Arab Emirates.
Commission secretary M Shamsul Arifeen told New Age on Wednesday that a three-member team just started the inquiry in June as the financial intelligence unit forwarded its finding to the commission in early this year.
The intelligence unit findings said that it collected data from Singapore about the ATZ Communications Pte Ltd which showed that the company had only two Singapore dollars in paid-up capital while AB Bank recorded it as $3 lakh.
The probe found that the bank lent Tk 82 crore to ATZ Communications without the required personal and corporate guarantees after the latter’s chief executive officer Kevin Mark Pocock met AB Bank top management at its head office.
It said that a minister introduced Pocock to the bank chairman at the latter’s office. 
In the same way the Bank lent Tk 115 crore to Euro Cars Holdings, said the probe.
It said that the AB Bank authority failed to inform if the bank had inspected the company before sanctioning the loan and it was not aware of the physical existence of the company.
The bank also lent Tk 240 crore to Sematcity General Trading LLC ignoring the banking rules and regulations, the probe said.
Sematcity General Trading owner Taybur Rashid is a Bangladeshi origin 
Canadian living in Dubai, it said.
The bank authority did not reply to the intelligence unit’s query why the bank approved the loan without receiving credit report of the company.
The company got the loan in name of supplying bitumen to Nepal-based KTN Energy Pvt Ltd while the probe found that Sematcity submitted fabricated orders of the KTN Energy as no such company existed in Nepal.
The report said that Sematcity transferred most of the money to different bank accounts of United States-based companies.
On January 25, the commission arrested AB Bank’s former chairman M Wahidul Haque, former head of financial institutions and treasury Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal and businessman Saiful Haque.
They were arrested within few hours after commission assistant director Gulshan Anwar filed a case with Motijheel police stations against eight people, including the three, for suspected laundering of Tk 167 
crore to the United Arab Emirates.
Five other suspects included former AB Bank managing directors M Fazlur Rahman and Shamim Ahmed Chaudhury, head of Offshore Banking Unit in Chittagong Mohammad Lokman, senior vice president M Nurul Azim and vice president Mohammad Mahfuzul Islam.
According to commission’s findings the eight laundered the money between September 2013 and February 2014.
According to the complaint, AB Bank board of directors approved investments of $20 million in Dubai in December 2013 by Singapore-based fundraising and investment company Pinnacle Global Fund Pte Ltd.
It said that in February 2014, the offshore banking unit laundered the money to an account at the UAE-based Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
Bangladesh Bank sent its probe report in this regard to the commission on November 15, 2017

News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net

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