The central bank’s anti-money laundering arm depicted a total of ten such cases that took place last fiscal year in its latest annual report, which was unveiled yesterday by Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman.
The case studies and typologies presented in the report would work as high-quality training materials for bankers, he said. “If we can perform the responsibilities given to the BFIU properly, the siphoning-off of money will come down.”
In one of the case studies, a gang of Bangladeshi human traffickers used the mobile banking platform to collect ransom.
The gang lured some young men, mostly from Dubai and Sharjah, and flew them in to Iran upon promise of lucrative jobs in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Greece. They confined the men in a house and took away their passports and other belongings.
The traffickers then forced the hostages to contact with their families in Bangladesh and instruct them to pay ransom, which ranged from Tk 1.5 lakh to Tk 3 lakh, through a popular mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh for their release.
The BFIU investigation found that a total of 23 mobile banking accounts were used to collect ransom amounting to Tk 21.52 lakh.
Some of the accounts were opened using fake IDs, while some of the transactions were done using 20 unique mobile banking customer accounts under the agent’s name within a short period of time.
As per rules, an agent is not permitted to open mobile banking customer accounts on behalf of others under his/her name and is not allowed to transact to others through either his/her mobile banking agent account or personal mobile banking account.
The case was forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Department of Bangladesh Police, who filed a case in this regard. And with the help of the Iranian authority, 13 of the kidnapped persons were rescued.