4:34 pm - Monday October 18, 9266

No Swiss response on info exchange of  money laundering  

Swiss Financial Intelligence Unit is yet to make any response to a proposal to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit on exchanging information about money laundering despite repeated attempts taken by Bangladesh Bank.

The BB sent a letter to the SFIU on June 24 this year, expressing interest to sign a memorandum of understanding to collect information about money deposited by Bangladeshi citizens with different Swiss banks.

BB executive director and spokesperson M Mahfuzur Rahman told New Age on Sunday that the central bank had already given reminder three to four times to the SFIU for signing the MoU, but they were yet to respond in this connection.

Bangladesh BankThe BFIU, a wing of the BB, will give reminder once again to the SFIU within this week, he said.

The central bank’s move came as the amount of deposited money of Bangladeshi citizens increased significantly in 2013 with various Swiss banks.

The recent data of Swiss National Bank showed that deposits by Bangladeshi citizens at various Swiss banks rose to Tk 3,236 crore (372 million Swiss francs) at the end of 2013, from Tk 1,991 crore in 2012.

The central bank will be able to collect information from the Swiss banks about the deposit money of the Bangladeshi citizens if the SFIU signs the MoU with the BFIU, Mahfuzur said.

Under the process, the central bank will be able to verify whether any Bangladeshi national laundered money to the banks in Switzerland.

Another BB official said that the SFIU had ignored the BB initiative considering Bangladesh as a developing country.

Bangladesh, as a member of Egmont Group, a forum of the Financial Intelligence Units of different countries, is now empowered to exchange information on money laundering and terror financing among its member countries, he said.

But the BB has to sign the MoU with the countries as a process of sharing the information, he said.

For the first time, the central bank requested the SFIU to sign the MoU since Bangladesh got the membership of Egmont Group in July 2013.

Bangladesh Bank has already signed the MoU with 25 countries, including United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Cambodia, South Korea and the Philippines.

According to a Times of India report, India and Switzerland plan to put in place an automatic information sharing arrangement that will require Swiss banks to report names of resident Indians opening accounts.

Leading Swiss banks are trying to distance themselves from some of the dodgy Indian clients who have twisted rules and could be a cause of embarrassment in future, the report said.

At least four individual Indian clients — three based in Mumbai and one in Delhi —holding the famously anonymous Swiss numbered accounts, have been advised by their respective banks to pull out their money by December 31.

The persons who were approached by the Swiss banks are Continued on under the impression that the pact between the two countries is forcing banks to end relationships with some of the account holders.

Unlike resident Indians who are beneficiaries of trusts that have accounts with Swiss banks, holders of numbered accounts are on a more shaky ground, according to the report.

-New Age