Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Bangladesh

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combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism in Bangladesh

Muhammad Ashikur Rahman
Introduction

Bangladesh has arguably not yet been a safe haven for money launderers, nor a pivot for terrorist financing as there is still absence of phenomena that typically make a country attractive to money launderers. Stable economy and political system, modern financial institutions, lack of effective law to deal organized crime, lenient sentencing, and a country’s location close to a major consuming or producing country are some matters that lure criminals and terrorists into a particular country for the purpose of money laundering and financing of terrorism. But this is not to say the land is entirely rid of these grave concerns as the presence of some phenomena is still worth drawing attention. This existence and absence of phenomena makes a situation of money laundering and financing of terrorism prevalent in different forms in Bangladesh like many other countries. Since it is very hard to trace each penny being laundered and on top of that Bangladesh is still playing layman role on these, the total situation is potentially getting worse than ever before. The purpose of this paper is to show the various forms and means of money laundering and financing of terrorism and the initiatives Bangladesh’s government has taken so far on the issues from a critical perspective.

Bangladesh is bounded by India to the west, the north and the north-east, by Myanmar to the south-east. The surrounding regions recently witness significant rise of terrorism by many fundamentalist and guerrilla groups commonly known as ULFA of Asham, NSCN of Nagaland, KNU of Myanmar, and a little far away Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Recently killed Al Qaeda’s chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan makes it easy to figure out that the region has been a breeding ground for terrorist organizations. Inside Bangladesh there are also few terrorist organizations trying to expand movement but strong resistance by the government does not let them operate so violently, at least not yet. The main sources of income of these organizations are drugs and arms trafficking, human trafficking, charities, business companies etc. In 2010 ten trucks sieged in Bangladesh loaded fully with heavy arms, mortar shells, ammos, missiles which was widely believed to be a consignment of ULFA in India may be taken as an example of the criminal activities making profits for their operations. Terrorists seek money for operations to support a particular ideology which is different from that of criminals seeking money for enrichment, greed, and power. To manage operations they are to move, repatriate and convert money using financial systems of a country convenient to them. And this is the point where they are vulnerable to get trapped. However, stopping terrorist financing is practically impossible but disrupting it is achievable whereas dismantling it is a long-term project.

Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism; Theoretical Framework

Money Laundering
Money laundering may be defined as any act or attempted act to conceal or disguise the identity of illegally obtained proceeds so that they appear to have originated from legal sources. In other words money laundering is a process whereby the proceeds of crime are put through a series of transactions in order to conceal the criminal origins and give them the appearance of being legitimate.

Money laundering is the mechanism used to move funds and disguise source. It is not the principal criminality but with an exception. The exception represents a person who is a professional money launderer. But still the investigator needs to demonstrate that the money laundered is from a predicate offence such as drug trafficking to accuse the person. However, there are categories of activity defined by the international laws that make up the criminal offence of money laundering. These categories include:

* The conversion...
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