‘US, UK banks not banking with Islami Bank’

Banks in the United Kingdom and the United States are not accepting transactions made through the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, President of the BGMEA said on Thursday.

In the backdrop of the unprecedented problem, apparel sector’s apex body has requested Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman to resolve the issue, saying many of its members were facing troubles.

The matter came to light when a team of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) led by its President Atiqul Islam met the central bank Governor.

“We find that banks in the United Kingdom and the United States are not accepting export bills and documents through the Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. So, those who are transacting through the bank are in trouble. We have requested the Bangladesh Bank to take immediate measures,” the BGMEA President said.

The customers of the bank, especially those related to export-import of readymade garment products, are facing problems, amid allegations that the bank is tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The troubles for the bank compounded in the recent months after the Ganajagaran Mancha in Shahbagh called for boycott of the bank, blaming it for financing religious extremism.

On Feb 20, the leaders of three major organisations of the RMG sector — BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA – had met the central bank Governor and submitted a plea in writing for a resolution of the issue.

The Islami Bank has been under international pressure for a few years after allegations surfaced about its alleged funding of militant groups across the globe.

HSBC Bank USA, Citi Bank NA and Bank of America have stopped transactions with Islami Bank following the accusations.

The Bangladesh Bank has been monitoring the Islami Bank for quite some time. It appointed an ‘Observer’ to the institution in 2010. General Manager of the Inspection Department of the central bank Abul Kalam Azad is currently the Observer for the bank.

A report on alleged money laundering and terrorist funding by the Islami Bank has been placed before a Senate committee in the United States.

The bank posted a clarification on its website and denied the charges.

Source: Bd news24