Combating Money Laundering: Egmont Group team due in Sept to review progress

By: Asif Showkat

  A high-powered team of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units will visit Dhaka in September to examine the anti-money laundering activities of the government, official sources said.

During the visit, concerned officials of various ministries and divisions will inform the team about Dhaka’s anti-money laundering (AML) activities, a senior finance ministry official said.

Besides, Egmont Group will review the government’s proposal to get its membership in at a meeting in Russia next month.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to bust money laundering activities and getting the Egmont Group’s membership will be discussed at a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on AML on Thursday, to be presided over by finance minister AMA Muhith at the secretariat.

In the meeting, the committee will also discuss about the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) meeting on money laundering, which held in New Delhi last month.

The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units is an informal international gathering of financial intelligence units. The group, formed in 1995, took its name from the palace in Brussels, where its first meeting took place.

Bangladesh has been pursuing the membership of Egmont group for last four years as part of its efforts to bring back millions of dollar, allegedly siphoned off by corrupt politicians and rogue businessmen, said another senior official of the finance ministry.

The official also said that the entry to the Egmont Group databank will help the country get access to the information database on anti-money laundering and terrorist finance.

The government now also mulls to formulate a policy to siege money and wealth that were laundered in the country and to return those to their owning countries, the official also said.

Bangladesh has been on the grey list of international money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML/FT) risks for last two years. The list is prepared by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in February every year. The government undertook various initiatives as per the suggestions of the international agency to improve its status.

In recent months, Bangladesh has formulated national anti-money laundering strategy, prepared a vulnerability assessment report and amended the money laundering prevention and anti-terrorism laws by upgrading those to international standards

The FATF is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) which places countries in three categories.

The categories are: ‘Grey list’ for those with a high-level political commitment to address the AML/CFT deficiencies, the ‘dark grey list’ for those with high risk and non-cooperative to which counter-measures apply and the ‘black list’ for those which are non-cooperative and have not committed to an action plan.

Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand were positioned in the black list although these countries were in the grey list in 2011.

Source: Daily Sun

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