Tk 165cr AB Bank Scam: ACC finds links of businessman
12:00 AM, January 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:43 AM, January 09, 2018

Tk 165cr AB Bank Scam: ACC finds links of businessman

The Anti-Corruption Commission has found that businessman Saiful Haque was involved in the laundering of around Tk 165 crore from AB Bank between 2013 and 2014.

ACC officials grilled the businessman for about six hours at its Segunbagicha headquarters yesterday.

A representative of Flydubai in Bangladesh, Saiful is also a relative of former foreign minister Morshed Khan, a founder of the private commercial bank, said sources.

During the interrogation, the businessman said his friend Khurram put a proposal to him to invest $20 million in Pinnacle Global Fund Pte Ltd (PGF), a Singapore-based fundraising and investment company.

Saiful put forward the proposal to former AB Bank chairman M Wahidul Haque, ACC sources told The Daily Star.

He also admitted that he was present at a meeting between the bank's high-ups and Khurram.

This correspondent phoned Saiful for his comment, but he didn't pick up. A text message was also sent to his phone, but he did not reply.

Earlier, the ACC interrogated Wahidul, two former managing directors of AB Bank, its seven former and current directors and a bank official over the scam.

According to a Bangladesh Bank probe report, the bank laundered around Tk 165 crore to the UAE through two shady organisations in the name of investment.

The bank's board of directors in December 2013 approved investing $20 million in PGF through its Offshore Banking Unit (OBU).

In February 2014, the OBU laundered the money to a bank account at the UAE-based Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).

The account belonged to Cheng Bao General Trading LLC which acted as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) or a mediator for the PGF. Cheng Bao immediately withdrew the money and closed the account.

It could not be known where the money went after the withdrawal, as the AB Bank failed to give the central bank any substantial documents on Cheng Bao and the PGF.

Yesterday, the graft watchdog also grilled former AB Bank director BB Saha Roy.

ACC Director Sayed Iqbal Hossain and Assistant Director Gulshan Anowar Pradhan are investigating the scam.

BACCHU GRILLED AGAIN

The ACC yesterday again interrogated former BASIC Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu in connection with nine out of 56 cases filed over embezzling Tk 2,036 crore.

Sources said like the previous days, Bacchu tried to shift the blame for the embezzlement onto the former management of the bank.

The ACC investigators had grilled him on December 4 and 6.

According to a Bangladesh Bank enquiry, about Tk 4,500 crore was siphoned out of the state-run bank between 2010 and 2013 when Bacchu chaired its board.

On July 14, 2014, the central bank sent a report on the scam to the ACC, detailing how people embezzled money from the bank through shell companies and dubious accounts.

The BB found that Bacchu illegally influenced all the activities of the bank, leaving the once-sound institution in a grave state.

In 2015, the ACC had filed the 56 cases over the scam. However, Bacchu was not made accused in any of the cases. 

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