Take money laundering seriously! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 03, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 03, 2018

Take money laundering seriously!

Years of denial is what got us here

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit has detected cases of money laundering involving Tk 4,000 crore and is set to conduct a thorough probe into the matter, according to the Deputy Governor of the Bangladesh Bank. In recent times, the BB had found some gross violations in foreign exchange transactions and there had also been cases of importers failing to submit to the banks the concerned bills of entry—to prove that imported goods actually entered the country—against the letters of credit (LCs), raising concerns about money laundering.

While we are pleased that the authorities will begin an investigation, what is troublesome is how they had failed to detect this sooner. Moreover, the fact that launderers were able to potentially avoid detection for so long and for such a large amount of money must also mean that there are loopholes in our regulatory system which are still being exploited.

That this is the case has, of course, been suspected for a very long time, and the media as well as others had repeatedly warned the government about money laundering which, in most cases, it did not take seriously. For example, in 2014, the Washington based Global Financial Integrity had reported that illicit financial flows from the country had nearly tripled in only the last decade. Having largely dismissed or ignored many past allegations without conducting any investigations, we hope this serves as a proper lesson for the authorities.

Money laundering is a serious matter, and it should be treated as such. Thus, we call on the authorities to conduct proper investigations into all such allegations, try to recover as much of the laundered money as possible and hold those responsible to account.

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