A new Finance Ministry order makes incorrect declarations on exports, imports and overseas investment a jailable offence.
Bangladesh Bank has instructed banks and supervised NBFIs to comply with a newly issued order aimed at curbing TBML (trade-based money laundering).
The Daily Star reports that on 10 March, the Finance Ministry issued an order making it a jailable offence for making incorrect declarations on exports, imports and investment abroad, as part of efforts to tackle TBML.
The new order was issued in accordance with the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947 that allowed offenders to be sentenced to seven years in prison. The government amended the Act in 2015, maintaining a provision to punish money launderers. The provision against the money launderers will be in force until December 2026.
According to the Act, the government would have to issue a notification to implement the measure. The ministry has now issued the circular, prompting Bangladesh Bank to instruct banks and supervised NBFIs to “follow the instruction to tackle trade-based money laundering.”
The government is reportedly drawing up a new law titled “Foreign Exchange Management Act”, which will continue to include the provision on punishing money launderers.
Data from GFI (Global Financial Integrity) indicates that 80 percent of the total money laundered from Bangladesh is done through over- and under-invoicing, common techniques in TBML.
It is said Bangladesh lost USD 7.53 billion on average between 2008 and 2017 from trade mis-invoicing alone.