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Under MM2H project

Multi million dollar siphoned off BD to Malaysia

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18th-Mar-2017       
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Badrul Ahsan :
At least US$278 million was siphoned off from Bangladesh to Malaysia till November 2016 under the 'Malaysia My Second Home' (MM2H) project through money laundering, sources said.
According to official data of Malaysia Financial Intelligence Unit (MFIU), at the end of November 2016, the total number of Bangladeshis, who made investments to avail 'second Home' benefit since 2003, stood at 3,399. Bangladesh ranks 3rd in investment in Malaysia second home project.
In a rough estimation, every applicant has to transfer at least $ 82,000 or about Tk 6.4 million to avail of the second home benefit. Thus, at least $ 278 million has illicitly been transferred to Malaysia under the programme. But according to Global Financial Integrity (GFI) estimate, illicit financial flow (IFF) or outflow from Bangladesh stood at $ 9.66 billion (Tk 740 billion) in 2013 which was $ 7.22 billion (Tk 553.13 billion) in 2012. No update for 2014 or later years is available. "We are investigating cases of some major money laundering, later, we will include other medium and small violators under our scanner also," a high official at the ACC told The New Nation on Thursday preferring anonymity.
"Although bringing back siphoned off money is a very tough job, we are hopeful about our success with the help of international money laundering laws and mutual discussion with the counterparts," he added.
However, although no activity of previous government was seen before bringing back the money home, the present management of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has taken a move to take legal steps against the unlawful activity.
As part of the initiative, the Anti-Corruption watchdog wrote a letter to the MFIU for Mutual Legal Assistance and to provide detail information of some 50 big investments.
In response to the request, MFIU has sent the Cash Transaction Report (CTR) on 14 Bangladeshis out of total 50 who have invested largely in 'Malaysia My Second Home' project through money laundering.
MFIU has recently sent the report to the finance ministry of Bangladesh and suggested Mutual Legal Assistance procedure to collect the deeds and documents on investment in My Second Home project and other purchase related documents including flat/land/car.
MFIU has also informed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) about it, claiming that they don't have any information about 36 other Bangladeshis.
Meanwhile as many as 32 cases related to flat/car or money laundering through any other way in Singapore, the UK, the USA, Hong Kong, and Canada are under investigation by the ACC. Besides, National Board of Revenue (NBR) has engaged a lawyer in Los Angeles in the USA to bring back the money to the tune of US$ 0.639 million siphoned off by a taxpayer of Tax Zone-2 of Chittagong in 2012.
The Revenue Board has also sent a letter to Justice Department of the USA through the office of the attorney general, seeking Mutual Legal Assistance, 2012. The NBR will primarily get US$ 0.150 million through settlement as Justice Department delivered verdict to freeze the amount.

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