Bank chiefs warned against getting involved in financing violence

violence

Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday warned scheduled banks of taking punitive measures against their chairmen and managing directors if the banks’ involvement was found in financing in the ongoing political violence.

The warning came from a meeting between high officials of the BB and top bosses of the scheduled banks at the central bank headquarters in the capital.

BB deputy governor Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan presided by the meeting while managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks attended.

Razee told reporters after the meeting that the central bank would suspend the chairman and managing director of the banks concerned in line with the existing law if the banks were found involved in the financing in the violence.

The central bank will be able to impose financial penalty up to Tk 25 lakh against any chairman and MD concerned of the banks if he or she is found involved in any terrorist financing, he said.

The BB has asked the banks to issue a fresh letter to their all branches within Wednesday (today) to warn their officials against such financing, Razee said.

The central bank will verify their measures in this regard whether they issue the letter or not, he said. The banks will have to inform the central bank immediately after they find any type of suspicious transactions, Razee said.

‘The BB has asked the banks to monitor the transaction details of all clients especially in the violence-prone districts. The banks will have to verify the transaction details for the last six months’, he said.

The banks will have to inform Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit of the central bank immediately if they find any abnormal or suspicious transaction during the period, Razee said.

The banks will have to conduct an inspection on their preventive measures against money laundering and terrorist financing and have to submit the report to the BB by March 31, he said.

The central bank also asked the banks to take required measures to keep free their mobile banking services from the terrorist financing, Razee said.

From now on, the banks will have to fill up the KYC (know your client) forms accurately, he said. ‘We have asked the MDs and CEOs of the banks to take pre-cautionary measures so that the terrorists fail to transfer the financing through the banking sector to fuel up the violence,’ Razee said.

The BB has recently found allegations from some intelligence agencies that the terrorists are now using the banking sector to transfer their financing to fuel up the violence, he said.

‘The BB has told the banks that the government has taken a zero tolerance policy against the terrorist financing to save the country’s image,’ Razee said.

Opposition political parties led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party have been calling hartal (general strike) frequently along with the ongoing blockade since the first week of January demanding fresh national elections which caused fresh violence across the country.

Another BB official said the central bank had made the decision to monitor closely the banking transactions in line with government directives.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina last week had directed the banks and financial institutions to identify those who finance militant and terror activities. She called for strict monitoring of financial transactions carried out through banks during a meeting with finance ministry officials at the secretariat.

The sponsors of the militant and terror activities are using the banks to transfer money in and outside the country, Hasina had said. The banking transactions should be monitored carefully to identify the financiers of terrorism, she had said.