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Info Exchange: Bangladesh, Switzerland to discuss ways to develop mechanism

Info Exchange: Bangladesh, Switzerland to discuss ways to develop mechanism

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Dhaka, Aug 16: Bangladesh and Switzerland are in touch to develop a mechanism for exchange of information to avoid any “misunderstanding” and “confusion” between the two sides.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Tuesday said they are in touch with the Swiss Embassy in Dhaka and Switzerland's administrative capital Bern as there is a proposal to that end from the Swiss side.

The decision to develop such a mechanism came amid confusions over deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks and whether Bangladesh has sought information from the Swiss authorities or not.

The Foreign Secretary said the government wants to make sure that there is no Illicit transfer of funds.

Responding to a question, he said the mechanism is primarily for the exchange of information.

Masud said they will sit with the relevant stakeholders to end any misunderstanding because neither side might have full information on the deposits of illegal money in Swiss banks.

Earlier, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh sought information on the deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks but the Swiss side did not respond to the query.

Momen said this after his conversation on the issue with Bangladesh Bank governor Abdur Rouf Talukder and Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin recently.

The foreign minister said he advised the governor and the finance ministry to come up with the statements as confusion arose following some media reports quoting Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard.

Momen said it is not true that Bangladesh did not seek information from Switzerland.

The Swiss envoy at the DCAB Talk last week said any estimate on deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks is "purely speculative" and no conclusion can be drawn on the basis of reports.

"Switzerland is not a safe haven for corrupt money," she said adding "When it comes to the Bangladeshi money deposited in the Swiss banks - the deposits meant by individuals ...represent only one aspect of various sources of public and private funds."

Bangladeshi media outlets reported that funds parked by Bangladeshi nationals and entities in all the Swiss banks swelled by 54 per cent to around CHF (Swiss Franc) 871 million (Tk 83.18 billion) in the last calendar year. The amount was around CHF 563 million in 2020.

Responding to a question on information exchange on the issue, she said Switzerland is really committed to implementing international standards.

In accordance with these international standards they can have some specific regulations and agreements also with the country to exchange this type of information, she said.

"So that is something should be developed," said the ambassador, adding that they have been providing to the government all the information regarding how to reach an agreement on these matters but no request has been submitted regarding any particular funding.