Bangladesh Bank says BFIU repeatedly sought info on money launderers from Swiss banks

Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) repeatedly sought information from countries including Switzerland on money laundered by Bangladeshis, Bangladesh Bank has said.

In response to a query today regarding the recent statement of the Swiss Ambassador, Md Serajul Islam, executive director and spokesperson of Bangladesh Bank, said, “I have nothing to say about the statement of the Swiss Ambassador. But BFIU repeatedly sought information from different countries on various issues, including illegal money transactions from Bangladesh.”

All kinds of initiatives were taken to collect information about money laundering from the country, he said, adding that BFIU, the country’s financial intelligence agency, has also sent several letters to Swiss banks.

“Whenever we need information, BFIU collects information from everywhere as it is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), an international network of FIUs,” said Serajul.

On August 11, 2022, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh sought information on the deposits of Bangladeshi money in Swiss banks but the Swiss side did not respond to the query.

Momen said this after his conversation on the issue with Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder and Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin on August 11, 2022.

The foreign minister said he advised the governor and the finance ministry to come up with the statements as confusion arose following some media reports quoting Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard.

Momen said it is not true that Bangladesh did not seek information from Switzerland.

Earlier on August 10, 2022, the Swiss envoy at the DCAB Talk said any estimate on deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks is “purely speculative” and no conclusion can be drawn on the basis of media and other reports.

She said they have been providing to the government all the information regarding how to reach an agreement on these matters but no request has been submitted regarding any particular funding.