Suspicious transaction reports submitted by reporting agencies including banks and non-bank financial institutions increased by 54.20 per cent to 1,687 in the fiscal year 2015-16 from 1,094 in the FY 2014-15, according to a Bangladesh Bank report to be released soon.
The STRs submitted by the reporting agencies in FY16 contained a total of 31,785 suspicious transactions worth Tk 3,035.93 crore.
The reporting agencies submitted 416 STRs in FY13 and 621 STRs in FY14.
A BB official told New Age on Tuesday that the STRs usually increased when the country faced an upward trend in money laundering as the reporting agencies submitted the reports on the grounds of financial crimes.
Experts have often suspected that money laundering was being perpetrated behind the under-invoicing and over-invoicing.
According to a Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management research report released in June, a large amount of money is being laundered abroad from Bangladesh through export and import business or trade financing.
After receiving the STRs, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, a wing of the central bank to tackle money laundering and terror financing, conducted 63 special inspections on banks in FY16.
The BFIU also carried out 27 onsite inspections on 27 mobile financial service providers (head offices and agents) during FY16.
The central bank unearthed some money laundering related crimes after conducting the inspections, the BB official said.
The BB, however, did not reveal the unearthed money laundering cases in its report.
The BIFU received 91.70 per cent STRs from banks and the rest were submitted by other reporting agencies including NBFIs and insurance companies.
The foreign commercial banks submitted the highest number of STRs (642) in FY16 despite having the lowest number of branch network and clients.
The private commercial banks and Islamic banks submitted 511 STRs and 362 STRs respectively in FY16, according to the report.
Of the total suspicious transactions, 99.86 per cent or Tk 3,035.93 crore was transacted at different banks where Islamic banks made the highest contribution to the transaction volume followed by the state-owned banks.
Islamic banks reported to the central bank Tk 1,500 crore as suspicious transaction volume while SCBs Tk 984.15 crore, PCBs Tk 313.09 crore and FCBs Tk 234 crore.
The BB official said that STRs had been increasing in the last few years, which indicated that money laundering might maintain an upward trend during the period.
According to a study (released in May) of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, illicit financial outflow from Bangladesh was estimated at $8.97 billion (about Tk 72,000 crore) in 2014.
The amount of laundered money in 2014 by traders
was estimated ranging from $4.96 billion to $7.88 billion or the highest 88 per cent through trade misinvoicing —over-invoicing in import and under-invoicing in export.
Every year, on an average, some $5.3 billion to $7.5 billion was siphoned off from the country in 2005-2014, according to the study.
Source: New Age