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Probe team finds accounts of banned Islamic outfits
Drive against suspicious transactions intensifies
Siddique Islam

          The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has intensified its special drive against suspicious transactions having links with terrorist outfits following the detection of three transactions in three branches of commercial banks.
The probe team found accounts of the banned Islamic outfits in the Pallabi branch of Rupali Bank in Dhaka, the Brahmanbaria branch of the state-owned Janata Bank and the Biswanath branch of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited but the size of transactions is small, sources in the central bank said.
The BB's Anti-Money Laundering Department (AMLD) has assigned two more teams to conduct investigation into transactions of two branches of one commercial bank to trace out suspicious transactions in the name of banned Islamist outfits.
Sources, however, said a probe team started its investigation into alleged suspicious transactions by the Savar branch of Islamic Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) in Dhaka Wednesday while another team went to Gazipur to investigate into the similar cases of allegations against the local Islamic Bank branch there.
Besides, three bank branches have been investigated by the BB's AMLD probe teams to trace out suspicious transactions of the banned Islamist groups.
The teams are yet to submit investigation reports to the concerned officials of the central bank, the sources added.
"We are continuously monitoring the movements of funds to find out the real sources of such financing in the country," a BB senior official told the FE Wednesday.
The BB officials suspect that the terrorist outfits have opened accounts at different places across the country using different names and transferred funds to those accounts from various sources.
"We are looking for the principal account through which the major funds were disbursed," the official noted.
Earlier, the central bank initiated the move soon after the arrest of the heads of the two Islamic terrorist organisations involved in August 17 simultaneous bomb blasts and suicide bomb attacks later across the country.
The probe teams have been securitising different matters including movement of funds to and from the bank branches to find out the recipients and senders of huge amounts of funds.
Besides, the probe teams have been looking into the compliance aspects of some major rules and regulations, including cash transaction reports (CTRs), know your customer (KYC) and transaction profile reports of the bank branches, the sources added.
Under the existing Anti-Money Laundering Act, the banks are required to inform Anti-Money Laundering Department of the central bank instantly if they detect any suspicious transaction.
Most of the banks are unwilling to submit suspicious transaction reports (STRs) properly because such reports might affect their relations with clients, sources in the banking sector said. They said the banks often prefer not sending the reports to avoid possible harassment and hassles.
Earlier, the central bank took a move to identify the financial transactions of top three leaders of the banned Jamaatul Mujaheedin, Bangladesh (JMB) and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB).
Three leaders are: JMJB Chief Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, the JMB Chief Shaekh Abdur Rahman and his brother Maulana Obidur Rahman.
UNB adds: Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed Wednesday said the BB is probing into suspicious accounts in connection with transactions for financing the outlawed militant outfit JMB.
"A number of the accounts were active and a few were dormant," he told a group of newsmen at his office Wednesday, at a time when there has been an intensive search for sources of finance for the militants.
The hunt for suspicious bank accounts got off following the arrest of the two kingpins of the JMB -- Shaekh Rahman and Siddiqul Islam widely known as Bangla Bhai.
The investigation was still premature to reach any conclusion, but the governor said they were getting some information. He, however, assured all concerned that the investigation result would be made public on completion.
Police identified suspected accounts in connection with JMB in three bank branches in Sylhet, Brahmanbaria and Pallabi in Dhaka.
Dr Salehuddin said the BB investigates the suspected accounts having connections with the criminals after receiving primary information from the law-enforcing agencies, and the BB personnel will conduct the investigation under the provisions of the existing Anti-Money Laundering Act.


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