Banks and financial institutions are becoming more vigilant on the money laundering issue. Their commitment to fight money laundering was shown in a recent report by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) where it reported 3,878 suspicious transaction reports (STR) and suspicious activity reports (SAR) from Banks and Financial Institutions in 2017 – 2018 against 2,357 reports in FY 2016-17. The number of reports is 64.50 percent higher year-on-year. The figures came in a report published last week.
However, The total financial value of the reported transactions was less than last year. Reporting agencies, banks, non-bank financial institutions, money changers and capital market intermediaries, reported suspicious transactions worth of Tk 921.75 crore last year, against the suspicious transaction worth of Tk 1,163 crore in fiscal 2016-17.
Of the total reports submitted to BFIU in FY 2017-18, the number of STR and SAR were 2,069 and 1,809 respectively while the figures were 1,267 and 1,090 respectively in FY 2016-17.
Suspicious transaction reports were filed by reporting entities, mainly banks and other financial intermediaries, on the cash transaction of Tk 10 lakh or above in a single day. The BFIU is responsible for analysing STR, SAR, cash transaction reports and information related to money laundering and terrorist financing received from reporting agencies and other sources.
Last fiscal year, BFIU disseminated a total of 677 STRs and SARs to different investigations and law enforcement agencies in contrast to 121 the previous year, according to the report.
The BFIU initially analyses and investigates the complaints submitted by reporting agencies. If any anomaly is found, it forwards the reports to the Anti-Corruption Commission, Bangladesh Police and other government agencies for further investigation.
Most suspicious transactions are coming up from hundi and informal remittance. BFIU sent the maximum of 609 STR and SARs for digital hundi and informal remittance to the government investigation agencies. The investigation agencies have so far filed 27 cases with the courts after carrying out detailed investigations based on the reports disseminated by the BFIU. Of the cases, 20 are under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2012 and the rest under the Anti-terrorism Act, 2009.
The BFIU has dealt with some critical cases on money laundering through under-invoicing in the name of import and yaba business.
The high number of reports indicates that banks and other reporting agencies are now more concerned about the money laundering and terrorist financing, industry experts claimed.