Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The central bank of Bangladesh is closely monitoring the developments in alleged laundering of money amounting to US$100 million to the Philippines, officials said.
“We’ll act properly after getting probe report on the alleged money laundering from our counterpart,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.
He also said Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) of the Philippines for sharing information on money laundering issue.
Besides, Bangladesh, as a member of Egmont Group, a forum of the financial intelligence units (FIUs) of different countries, is now empowered to exchange information on money laundering and terror financing among its member-countries, he added.
The Group now has 151 members across the world to promote and enhance international cooperation in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing as well as to foster implementation of domestic programmes in this field.
The Philippines’ financial regulators are investigating what could be the biggest single money laundering event ever uncovered in the country.
In the series of incidents a total of $100 million that was brought into the country’s banking system, sold to a black market foreign exchange broker, transferred to at least three large local casinos, sold back to the money broker, and moved out to overseas accounts – all in a few days.
More importantly, the illicit funds are said to be part of funds, stolen by computer hackers recently from the accounts of an overseas bank, which Inquirer.net, a media source of the Philippines, said was a financial institution of Bangladesh.
“The initial report is that some funds went missing in Bangladesh and the suspicion is that this bank or the central bank of that country itself was hit by China-based hackers,” the Philippines media reported.
It quoted one banking source, relating a story that was corroborated by at least three high ranking government officials and four other bankers. “Somehow, those funds found their way into the Philippines financial system.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Serge Osmeña, who chairs the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies of the Philippines, has warned that the country will suffer, if it lands in the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force on Anti-Money Laundering.
This comes after the country’s financial regulators detected the $100 million in illicit funds that have entered the Philippines banking system, according to CNN.
“If we’re blacklisted, we will be at a loss. Because our banks will not be able to transact with their counterparts in New York and London,” he explained.