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Soaring deposits by Bangladeshis in Swiss Banks

BB again seeks account info from SNB

By Special Correspondent
01st-Aug-2017       
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The central bank has once again sought information of accounts held by Bangladeshis in Swiss Banks from the authorities of the alpine country in a bid to track down capital flight and money laundering from Bangladesh.
On July 13, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing arm of Bangladesh Bank (BB), sent a letter to the Swiss concerned authorities seeking information relating to deposits of Bangladeshis in their banks.
The letter enclosed a list of Bangladeshi account holders who allegedly transferred a big amount of money from Bangladesh employing unfair means and deposited it in their accounts in Swiss Banks.
 "We have requested the Swiss National Bank  (SNB) to send accounts information of the listed Bangladeshis after suspicion they have shifted a big amount to Swiss Banks using illegal channels," Subhankar Saha, an Executive Director and spokesperson of BB told The New Nation yesterday.
 "They may be involved in money laundering because the regulators were in dark over their money transfers. Only the information from the Swiss authorities can help detect their crime," he added.
BB earlier made several requests to the central bank of Switzerland since it did not provide information relating to deposit of Bangladeshis with Swiss Banks.
Even the Swiss central bank was silent on the request from BB to sign a memorandum of understanding for sharing and exchanging information to help track money laundering from Bangladesh.
The soaring deposits by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks in recent years forced BB to come up with the moves.
Commenting on the issue, Subhankar Saha said, "BB has been maintaining a constant communication with Switzerland authorities to gather specific account information about the suspected Bangladeshis. We renewed the call and we hope the authorities would respond to us this time.
 "Their support would help us  track down illegal fund transfer by the listed Bangladeshis to Switzerland. Once BB gets the information, we shall be able to launch drive against the suspected Bangladeshi depositors in Swiss Banks," he added.
A recent report by the SNB revelled that Bangladeshi deposits in Swiss Banks totalled Tk 5,566cr in 2016, showing a year-on-year increase by 19 per cent.
The total deposit by Bangladeshi citizens in various Swiss Banks totalled Tk 5,566cr in 2016, which was Tk4,417 in 2015.

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