12:01 AM, May 05, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Destiny high-ups charged

Destiny high-ups charged

ACC accuses 51 of Tk 4,200cr money laundering
Court Correspondent

The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday pressed charges against Destiny Group Managing Director Rafiqul Amin, Destiny 2000 President Lt Gen (retd) Harun-Ar-Rashid, and 49 others in two money laundering cases involving around Tk 4,200 crore.
They were charged with misappropriating funds through Destiny Tree Plantation (DTPL) project and from Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd (DMCSL), said an ACC official.
Rafiqul, Harun and DMCSL Chairman Mohammad Hossain were made prime accused in the two cases, Public Prosecutor Kabir Hossain told The Daily Star yesterday.
If the accused are found guilty, they will face imprisonment up to seven years, according to money laundering law.
The Group's irregularities came under the spotlight in early 2012 after the central bank found that the Group was involved in illegal banking. The Daily Star and other newspapers ran reports on massive irregularities in the Group's cooperative, tree plantation and multilevel marketing wings.
In July 2012, the ACC filed two cases against 22 Destiny officials on the charge of laundering Tk 4,200 crore.  
After running probe for nearly 22 months, two ACC investigators -- Mozahar Ali Sarder and Tawfiqul Islam -- submitted charge sheets to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Destiny top officials misappropriated about Tk 4,200 crore through its tree plantation project and the cooperative firm, and laundered money abroad, say the charge sheets.
The officials embezzled the money in the name of paying salaries, honorarium, commission, incentives and promotional costs. They transferred the money to their bank accounts and those of the Group's 20 companies.
They misappropriated Tk 2,433 crore from 17.5 lakh investors by selling 6.18 crore saplings under the tree plantation project. In reality, the group planted only 32 lakh trees, according to ACC findings.
The company lured people into investing money in the plantation project saying if anyone invested Tk 8,000 under the Golden Package, the person would get Tk 20,000 after six years, and an investment of Tk 5,000 under the Silver Package would fetch Tk 30,000 after 12 years.
The DMCSL swindled 8.5 lakh investors out of Tk 1,861 crore by promising them high interest rate -- up to 46 percent, found the investigation.
The Group siphoned off around Tk 100 crore to Hong Kong in the name of importing electrical and electronic goods, cosmetics and agro products, and leasing aircraft for Destiny Air System. In fact, no goods were imported and no aircraft was leased by the company.
Destiny officials laundered the money with the help of Hong Kong national Noel G Kerry, a business partner of Rafiqul, the probe found.
Rafiqul, Hossain and Harun were arrested after the cases were filed.
Later, Harun obtained bail from the High Court, but Rafiqul and Hossain were not granted bail. Two other Destiny officials Lt Col (retd) Didarul Alam and Rezaur Rahman Osmani are also in prison.
The other 46 accused, including Rafiqul's wife Farha Diba, a director of the Group, are on the run. The investigators appealed to the court for issuing arrest warrants against them.


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