GFI figure questioned | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 31, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:10 AM, January 31, 2019

ILLICIT FINANCIAL OUTFLOWS

GFI figure questioned

The central bank has questioned the amount siphoned out of Bangladesh as the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) gave two different estimates in its latest report.

Some $5.9 billion was siphoned out of Bangladesh in 2015 through trade misinvoicing, according to the GFI's report on illicit flows of money released on Monday.

Trade misinvoicing is a method of moving illicit financial flows figures, and includes the deliberate misrepresentation of the value of imports or exports in order to evade customs duties and VAT taxes, launder the proceeds of criminal activity or to hide offshore the proceeds of legitimate trade transactions, among other motivations.

Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), yesterday said the GFI gave two sets of estimates: one based on data of International Monetary Fund and the other on United Nations data.

He said on the basis of IMF data, money was laundered abroad but it also entered the country. The UN data showed the amount of money coming in is more than the outflow.

“More study is required on how much has flown out,” said Hassan while releasing the monetary policy statement at the central bank.

The Washington-based research and advisory firm came out with the findings by analysing the data of trade in goods of 148 developing countries with advanced economies. On the basis of the IMF data, it said $2.36 billion entered the country in 2015 and the outflow was $5.9 billion.

According to the GFI, the illicit outflow was $2.67 billion from Bangladesh using the United Nations Comtrade's trade statistics dataset, and inflow was $2.79 billion, meaning the inflow was higher by $0.12 billion.

The GFI said while the Comtrade dataset is more detailed, not all countries provide their trade data to the UN and therefore are not represented in this analysis.

Hassan said, “If you look at the trend, the money going out of the country is decreasing gradually.”

“It was $7.2 billion in 2012, $9.6 billion in 2013, $6.3 billion in 2014, and $5.9 billion in 2015.”

Hassan said the two results were of two types but the BFIU had taken it seriously and taken several steps to prevent money laundering.

“More steps are underway,” he said.

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