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8 November, 2019 12:41:15 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 November, 2019 05:55:05 PM
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3 firms siphon off Tk 1,100cr

Money laundered in guise of import, export business, finds Customs Intelligence
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
3 firms siphon off Tk 1,100cr

A syndicate comprising three companies allegedly involved in laundering over Tk 1,100 crore in the guise of import and export business has been busted. The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) said these fraudulent firms had laundered the huge sum in the name of importing capital machinery in a single year, making it the biggest scam in the country in recent times. The investigators found that the goods these firms imported and exported were inconsistent with their stated purpose.

The CIID yesterday filed a total of 15 cases against these firms -- Agro BD, Henan & Anhui Agro and SB Exim Bangladesh -- for money laundering by generating fake bills amounting to about Tk. 900 crore in the name of importing agricultural products and machineries.

The CIID also filed case against 13 people, including the owner of SB Exim Bangladesh Shahjahan Bablu, for laundering money to the tune of Tk 92 crore in the name of exporting terracotta tiles.

CIID Director General Md Shahidul Islam confirmed the matter to The Independent and said the cases were filed with Paltan Police Station against 11 people, including the owner of Agro BD and M/S Henan Anhui Agro, with Paltan Police station on charge of laundering Tk. 870,86,21,383.

The CIID has also identified the main accused as Abdul Mottaleb, a resident of Patira village of Khilkhet in Dhaka.

According to the investigators, Motaleb is the proprietor of the two importing firms as stated above.

He imported poultry feed and machineries for two factories at Keraniganj and Khilkhet. However, the CIID said these factories practically existed on paper only and were used as fronts for money laundering.

During its investigation, the CIID found that the companies reportedly exported liquor and other things in the name of agricultural products. Some unscrupulous bank officials were also helped them to launder money in foreign countries through these businesses.

According to sources, CIID received secret information that several fake firms were trying to get containers full of contrabands released at Chittagong port. The companies, however, claimed that there were machineries in the containers.

Earlier in July 2017, CIID had received a similar tip-off about 12 such containers at the Chittagong port. The containers had arrived in Bangladesh from Singapore via a Malaysian port.

Following the information, the CIID had conducted raids with several other agencies and found various products, including large numbers of foreign cigarettes, LED TVs, old photocopy machines, narcotics, and powdered milk worth Tk. 138 crore in the containers.

It was later found that these companies had also unloaded 78 containers earlier. Of these containers, 32 were in the name of Henan Anhui Agro and 49 were in the name of Agro BD.

According to CIID, these two import firms were non-existent.

The inquiry also revealed that these fake importers had benefited through 15 bills of entry and 15 LCs by using the same C&F agent and the same bank. And through depreciation and tariffs, they imported cigarettes, LED TVs, old photocopy machines, narcotics, and powdered milk. On August 20 this year, CIID found evidence against the managing director of a local firm and some bank officials of money laundering through fake bills of Tk. 200 crore in the name of exporting terracotta tiles.

A Jhenaidah-based firm, SB Exim Bangladesh, allegedly exported clay terracotta tiles at prices much higher than the international market price.

Sources concerned said Shahjahan Bablu, the MD of SB Exim Bangladesh, withdrew Tk. 174 crore from Bangladesh Commerce Bank through fake export bills.

That time, the customs investigators sent a written request to the special branch of police to prevent Shahjahan Bablu from going abroad.

Besides, a letter was also sent to the director general of the Immigration and Passport Directorate seeking information regarding his passport.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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