No strategy will work to prevent money laundering

13 November 2020

Media report in a national daily on Thursday said the government has adopted a new strategy to combat trade-based money laundering and illicit financial outflow from the country with the incorporation of a few stringent provisions into it. It has been included in the 'National Strategy for Preventing Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism 2019-2021.
Recently, the committee on prevention of money laundering from the country at a meeting suggested nine recommendations to prevent outflow of money abroad. It decided that if any individual or organisation were found guilty, steps would be taken to confiscate the concerned individual or organisation's movable and immovable properties. However, in any case if the properties could not be confiscated then tax would be realised as fine against the laundered money.
The most common schemes involve fraudulent trade practices are over-and-under invoicing of goods and services, multiple invoicing of goods and services, over-and-under-shipment of goods and services, short or over shipping, shipping something other than what is invoiced, shipping nothing at all with false invoices and falsely describing goods and services etc, according to the committee.      
In addition, the government is also preparing to bring the laundered money back to the country. It is planning to ink taxation agreements with as many as 12 countries for allowing the exchange of information in order to bring back the money stashed abroad. The countries include Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
However, with the development of technology and diverse trading practices, criminals these days are in a position to change their strategy off and on to divert attention of the law enforcement agencies to launder money abroad. Rapid expansion of global trade has increased the possibilities for trade-based money laundering (TBML).  
It is difficult to estimate exactly how much illicit money flows through the world's financial system every year, but the amounts involved are undoubtedly huge. According to a recent report of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), some Tk. 26,400 crore is being illegally laundered from Bangladesh a year.
 No strategy, new or old, will work effectively and reasons are known to the government.

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