A Singapore court has ruled the Bangladesh government will get all the money held by a company set up by Arafat Rahman Coco in that country, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said Tuesday.
“The money is held in a company Fairhill Consulting Ltd. set up by Arafat Rahman through a Singapore citizen,” said Alam after a hearing where he represented Bangladesh.
“The amount of money remains unspecified yet,” said Alam, “one has to now find out the exact amount from the company files and documents.”
“The Attorney General’s office Singapore supported the Bangladesh claim on Arafat Rahman’s money in the Singapore Subordinate Court 14,” a spokesperson for the AG’s office in Dhaka told bdnews24.com.
“The judge after hearing on the matter awarded the money to Bangladesh,” the spokesperson said.
In November last year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had claimed bringing back 2.24 million Singapore dollars (Tk130 million) of Arafat’s funds to Bangladesh after a long legal process.
23,800 Singapore dollars (about TK 1.5 million) of this was deposited into the ACC’s bank account.
At that time, ACC chairman Ghulam Rahman had informed the media of efforts to bring back another US $936,000 laundered by Arafat Rahman to Singapore.
In January 2011, Singapore citizen Lim Hsiu Cheng was fined 9,000 dollars for being used by Arafat to park his laundered money.
Fairhill Consulting Ltd was set up by Arafat Rahman with Cheng as nominee director and a shareholder of the company.
The ‘Straits Times’ of Singapore, while reporting the court proceedings of this case, revealed that Arafat Rahman had wanted to do business with Jas Trading & Consulting of Singapore in April 2004.
Arafat Rahman and Lim Hsiu Cheng were operators of the Jas Trading’s account that was opened in United Overseas Bank (UOB).
Within a year, Arafat Rahman opened a second company, Fairhill Consulting Ltd, in Singapore,but the account of this company in UOB was run by Lim Hsiu Cheng.
On Feb 16, 2007, Lim Hsiu Cheng was asked to close down both the companies by Arafat Rahman on grounds of ‘political uncertainities’ in Bangladesh
At that time, US $900,677 from Fairhill’s account and US $2,013,467 from Jas Trading’s account were shifted into Lim Hsiu Cheng’s personal accounts. On request from Bangladesh government, Singapore froze both the bank accounts.
Arafat has been sentenced to six years in prison and fined TK 190 million for money laundering and taking bribes.
But he left the country during the interim caretaker regime for ‘medical treatment’ to Bangkok after his arrest for the trial.
He has not returned to Bangladesh ever since.
The Singapore court ruling comes when Khaleda Zia is in the city-state for medical treatment.