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BFIU also seeks account information of SK Sur, Shah Alam and spouses

  • Published at 10:10 pm March 14th, 2021
Bangladesh Bank BB head office HQ
Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The move comes following a confessional statement given by Rashedul Haque, former managing director of International Leasing and Financial Services

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) asked about the bank accounts and other financial information of SK Sur Chowdhury, a former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, and Md Shah Alam, its executive director, as well as their spouses.

It sought the information on Thursday, according to a source at the BFIU.

Earlier on February 23, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) had also sought the same information after allegations came to light of their involvement in defrauding a host of non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) of at least Tk 3,500 crore by banker Proshanta Kumar Halder, also known as PK Halder.

The BFIU asked banks and NBFIs to provide information, including details of current accounts, savings accounts, term-loan accounts, foreign currency accounts, credit cards, lockers, savings and investment schemes, beneficiary owners’ accounts, or any other account maintained by Chowdhury and his wife Suparna Sur Chowdhury, and Alam and his two wives Shaheen Akhter Shalley and Nasrin Begum, within seven working days.

The move comes following a confessional statement given by Rashedul Haque, former managing director of International Leasing and Financial Services (ILFSL), before a Dhaka court on February 3.

Md Shah Alam was the head of the Department of Financial Institutions and Markets (DFIM) -- the branch of the central bank responsible for keeping watch on the NBFIs.

But he had allegedly teamed up with Halder, a former managing director of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance, such that all the irregularities and corruption that the latter was indulging in flew under the radar of the regulator.

On January 24, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested Haque, an accused in five cases of fraud connected to ILFSL.

Both Alam and SK Sur Chowdhury were on the payroll of Halder and they helped to hide the irregularities and corruption at ILFSL, People’s Leasing and Financial Services, Reliance Finance, and FAS Finance and Investment, as per Haque’s confessional statement.

Last month, the High Court imposed a travel ban on Chowdhury, who has no connections with the BB after his tenure as an adviser had ended last year.

It was during Alam’s tenure as the chief of the DFIM since December 2017 that the health of about one-third of the 33 NBFIs had gone south.

The financial health of at least 10 NBFIs including ILFSL, Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company, Fareast Finance and Investment, Reliance Finance, Prime Finance and Investment, and FAS Finance and Investment is precarious, as per data by the Bangladesh Bank.

The default loans at the NBFIs soared 15 per cent to Tk 10,244.7 crore at the end of September last year.

Subsequently, earlier this month, the central bank removed Alam from the department, where he has been since October 2013, first as the general manager and then as its head.

BB Executive Director Mohd. Humayun Kabir has been appointed in his place.

Alam, who joined the central bank as an assistant director in 1988 after acquiring his Master’s degree in economics from Chittagong University, will be dispatched to a less consequential department.

Both Alam and Chowdhury declined to comment on the matter.

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