17/02/2014: Bangladesh achieves global recognition in combating money laundering

Bangladesh achieves global recognition in combating money laundering

DHAKA, Feb 17, 2014 (BSS) - Bangladesh has achieved global recognition in combating money laundering and terror financing, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith announced the achievement at a press conference at his office here today.

The Paris-based international organisation, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), gave the recognition by delisting the name of the country from its "Grey List".

The FATF, an inter-governmental body to combat money laundering, listed Bangladesh under the category of 'grey' in 2008 after it found major deficiencies in Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) drives.

The organisation, however, at a meeting in Paris on Thursday decided to put Bangladesh out of the grey list as the country made significant progress in its drives against money laundering and combating terror financing in the past few years.

"The FATF welcomes Bangladesh's significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime and notes that Bangladesh has established the legal and regulatory framework to meet its commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF had identified in October 2010," the organisation said after the Thursday's meeting,

It announced that Bangladesh is therefore no longer subject to FATF's monitoring process under its on-going global AML/CFT compliance process and the country would work with Asia-Pacific Group (APG) as it continues to address the full range of AML/CFT issues identified in its mutual evaluation report.

The FATF at the meeting presented a report lauding the rule of the present government for it strong commitments and effective initiatives to fight against money laundering and terror financing.

Following presentation of the report, the United State (US) praised Bangladesh's anti-money laundering drive and the commitment of the government.

The US also formally proposed to
the meeting that the name of Bangladesh should be delisted from the Grey List as the present government showed its strong commitment by updating rules and regulation to fight against money laundering and terror financing.

Australia, Russia, Japan, China, Franc, New Zealand, India, Singapore and the APG supported the US proposal and praised Bangladesh's anti-money laundering drives.

The finance minister attributed the achievement to the rules and regulations that the present government formed in the past few years to combat money laundering and terror financing.

He said the country would do better in external trade and business after this significant achievement that would be helpful to build better image of the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said the achievement in anti-money laundering would make external trade cheaper by reducing the cost of letter of credit (LC).

Besides, the governor said it would help increase foreign trade as many countries would now feel more comfortable in doing business in Bangladesh.

"The development partners, who were cautious in providing Bangladesh with soft loan before would also change their mind as the country came out the list of the risky countries," Dr Atiur said.

Bank and Financial Institutions Division (BFID) Secretary Dr. M Aslam Alam listed the rules and regulations that the Awami League government took in the past few years to make Bangladesh a clean country in the global financial field.

Among the rules and regulations are: Money Laundering Prevention Act 2012, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters Act 2012 and amendment to Anti- Terrorism Act 2009 to make it align with international standard.

The government also formed a national coordination committee to make policies and directive on anti-money laundering and combat financing of terrorism and established Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to facilitate exchange of information and intelligence to this end.

An agreement has also been signed with 16 FIUs besides obtaining the membership of the Egmont Group, a group of FIUs that meet regularly to collaborate in information exchange, training and expertise sharing.