Citycell CEO held for ‘embezzling Tk 383 crore of AB Bank’
05:31 PM, July 01, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:12 PM, July 08, 2017

Citycell CEO held for ‘embezzling Tk 383 crore of AB Bank’

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) today arrested Mehboob Chowdhury, chief executive officer of Citycell, for allegedly embezzling over Tk 383 crore of AB Bank between 2011 and 2015.

ACC Public Relations Officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya told The Daily Star that Mehboob was arrested in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport this afternoon.

A team of the anti-graft watchdog arrested him at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport after he flew into Dhaka from Srilanka.

ACC on Wednesday sued former foreign minister M Morshed Khan, his wife Nasrin Khan and 14 others for allegedly embezzling over Tk 383 crore of AB Bank between 2011 and 2015.

Morshed is the chairman and Nasrin is a director of Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd (PBTL). The other accused include PBTL Vice Chairman Asghar Karim, its Chief Executive Officer Mehboob Chowdhury, three former managing directors of AB Bank Kaiser Ahmed Chowdhury, Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury, M Fazlur Rahman, and current MD of the bank Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury.

ACC Deputy Director Sheikh Abdus Salam filed the case with Banani Police Station.

According to the case statement, AB Bank unlawfully guaranteed loans of Tk 348.5 crore given to PBTL by eight other banks and non-bank financial institutions. The board and other top officials of AB Bank approved the move without taking any collateral from PBTL, in violation of the rules and regulations of Bangladesh Bank.

As the guarantor, AB Bank was bound to pay off the loans with the interest -- over Tk 383 crore -- after the borrower failed to repay the money in a year.

Most of these loans were taken between 2012 and 2013, according to the ACC investigation.

Mehboob on behalf of PBTL had applied to AB Bank's Mohakhali branch so that the bank became the guarantor. The branch then sent the proposal to the bank's headquarters without examining the application properly. Later, the top brass of the bank approved the application without any assessment and ignoring the rules and regulations of the central bank, alleges the graft watchdog.

Misusing the guarantee, PBTL in a planned way took away Tk 348.5 crore from the eight banks and institutions, reads the ACC case statement.

When PBTL failed to repay the loan within a year, the lenders asked AB Bank to give them the pay and eventually, the bank paid the money by 2015.

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