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Tuesday, January 7, 2020 10:55:02 PM
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Policy of sheltering crooked and corrupt must end

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LAYERING is a popular method for money launderers as it makes harder for financial regulators and law enforcement agencies to figure out the movement of fund transfers. The first step involves introducing cash into the financial system by some means ("placement"). The second involves carrying out complex financial transactions to camouflage the illegal source of the cash ("layering"). Lastly, the wealth generated from the transactions of the illicit funds is put back into the financial system ("integration"). The chairman of Ahsan Group, and the chairman of proposed Peoples Bank used these three steps to gain ownership of Peoples Bank but they were not clean enough to get past the open-eyed Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and the Bangladesh Bank, the newspapers said.
As per banking rules, a person has to spend his/her own net worth to purchase more than 5 percent shares of a bank. Ahsan Group chairman, who was then a director of Mercantile Bank, was well aware of this, which is why he sent the funds through five banks to bury their source---which was a loan of Tk 75 crore from First Security Islamic Bank. We know that the banking system in Bangladesh needs to be overhauled but instead of removing laws which promote nepotism and corrupt governance the government is forcing them to reduce their interest rate spreads. Creating a lending rate of 9 percent and a deposit rate of 6 percent won't make the problems of bad governance go away magically. The main problem--bad debts which have occurred due to corruption or political patronage still exist. But the Finance Minister is now talking of rehabilitating the crooks in the guise of industrialists who misappropriated crores of taka.
Banking will once again become healthy if bankers exercise their discretion in giving out loans and these loans are not given to people with political connections for laundering abroad. The lending policies of the banks must be strictly regulated by the Bangladesh Bank.

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