Reports on suspicious transactions rise in ‘12

Rezaul Karim

The country’s banks provided about 350 Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) last year to the central bank thanks to its strict vigilance against money laundering, a Bangladesh Bank official said on Thursday.

In the previous year, the STRs totalled nearly 200, Bangladesh Bank (BB) data said.

“The submission of an increased number of STRs means that there are greater more awareness and better compliance with relevant rules by the banks — the main objectives of our anti-money laundering efforts,” a high official at the anti-money laundering unit of BB told the FE.

“We have enhanced cooperation with companies and the international community to enable the exchange of information relating to money laundering and terror financing,” he added.

The suspicious transactions are being investigated into and the appropriate action is taken by the authorities, he said.

“Bangladesh is in the good book of Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) because of its measures against financial irregularities,” BB’s officials concerned claimed.

According to them, Bangladesh Bank has punished most of the banks found involved in suspicious transactions. Considering the importance of the cases, the central bank can also ask banks to suspend their officials responsible for the transactions. The central bank can also file cases against a bank.

The officials of different banks have been trained in detecting money laundering by the BB to identify suspicious transactions. It is a continuous process, said BB sources.

Of the total STRs, the private commercial banks of local and foreign origin, came up with a record number. But the STRs of the state-owned commercial banks and special banks are normal, BB sources said.

The central bank received the highest number of STRs from a foreign commercial bank. The second-highest position in STR index has been occupied by a large Islami bank. The third in the list, compiled in 2012, is a commercial bank.

“The number of suspicious transaction reports has increased because the central bank has taken stern

actions against the responsible banks,” a senior banker told the FE.

To combat money laundering, the central bank in 2012 made it mandatory for commercial banks to report all cash transactions above Tk 1.0 million in any account on a single day to the Financial Intelligence Unit of BB. The amount of transaction limit was Tk 0.7 million earlier.

The BB is empowered to deal with the issue under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2012.

The government amended Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2009 and enacted Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012 (MLPA, 2012). According to the Act, the banks are the reporting agencies.

Source: Financial Express


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