Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in parliament on Wednesday that BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s two sons laundered over US$ 1 billion during the BNP regime.
She said Tarique Rahman, also the senior vice-chairman of BNP, alone laundered $80 million to different tax havens between 1993 and 2006 while Arafat Rahman Koko siphoned off $250 million to Malaysia.The prime minister made the statement while revealing the names of Bangladeshi politicians, businessmen, organisations, financial institutions, agents and brokerage houses listed on the Paradise Papers.
Paradise Papers are a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents, relating to secret ties, dealings and offshore interests of many influential people and institutions from around the world, which were leaked to the media in November last year.
Sheikh Hasina vowed to bring to book the “corrupt individuals who have looted and laundered money through illegal offshore deals”.
“I want to make it clear that we won’t let anymore to siphon off the country’s money abroad,” she said while responding to a question from reserved seat lawmaker Fazilatun Nasa Bappy.
The premier placed a list of 50 persons, including Awami League Presidium member Kazi Jafarullah, and a Bangladeshi company whose names were linked to the Paradise
Papers.“After investigations, legal action will be taken against the persons involved in the scam. Necessary measures will be taken to bring back the laundered money,” she told the JS session with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
Other Bangladeshis who names appeared in the Paradise Papers are: Abdul Awal Mintoo, Nasreen Fatema Awal, Tabith Awal, Tafsir Mohammad Awal, Kafil HS Mueed, Mehbub Chowdhury, Yusuf Raihan Reza, Eshrak Ahmed, Novera Chowdhury, Farhad Goni Mohammad, Bilkis Fatema Jesmin, Rozer Berg, Abul Bashar, Zain Umar, Benzir Ahmed, Mokmedul Islam, Motazzarul Islam, Afzalur Rahman, Sudhir Mallick, Jiban Kumar Sarker, Nizam M Selim, M Selimuzzman, Syed Sirajul Haque, FM Zobaidul Haque, Salma Haque, Kazi Jafarullah, Nilofar Jafarullah, Kazi Raihan Jafar, Aminul Haque, Najim Asadul Haque, Tarik Ekramul Haque, Capt. M A Zaul, Shahed Masud, Khawza Shahadat Ullah, Dilip Kumar Modi, Syed Samina Mirza, Faisal Kareem Khan, Julfikar Haider, Umme Rubana, Ajmat Moyeen, Nazrul Islam, Jahidul Islam, Jafar Umid Khan, Asma Monen, ASM Mahiuddin Monem, AFM Rahmatul Bari, Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury, Faisal Chowdhury and Ahmed Samir. The name of Bangla Track Limited also surfaced on the list.
Several other companies bearing Bangladesh’s name have also surfaced in the Paradise Papers.
The premier also said three financial institutions had also been linked to the siphoning off money through secret offshore dealings. The firms are Swayne Investments Ltd, Seven Seas Assets Ltd and NFM Energy Limited.
The Leader of the House also revealed the names of two agents —- Brummer & Partners Asset Management (Bangladesh) Limited and Mossak Fonseca & Co, (Singapore), Pte Ltd those were also involved in so-called offshore deals.
The brokerage houses involved in money laundering are Mayhill Holdings Inc, Golden Progress Inc, Candia Investments Ltd, Ellie Consultants Inc, Evarts Enterprises Inc, Winchester Finance Ltd, Chin Chieh Shipping S.A, Budisukma Inc, Eddington Worldwide Ltd, Emerald International Inc, Ballen Limited, Nature Craft Ltd, Oracle Holding Ltd, Astron Equities SA, Carmine Investments Ltd, Bluemountain Limited, Concord Eagle Investment Ltd, Ming Li Enterprise Limited, Harnard International Inc and Vietmy (International) Ltd.
Referring to the corruption committed by Khaleda Zia, the premier said the BNP chief has been placed in the third position among the most corrupt people, adding information to support this claim were revealed in various media worldwide.
“Khaleda Zid has not protested any such news,” she said.
Hasina, also the president of the ruling Awami League, referred to the corruption and money laundering of Khaleda Zia’s two sons—Tarique Rahman and late Arafat Rahman Koko.
“They have houses worth several million dollars in Dubai and also own markets and other assets in Saudi Arabia,” she alleged.
“Tarique Rahman has laundered a huge amount of money abroad. Tarique and his business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun laundered around Tk 21 crore to CTNA Bank in Singapore in exchange for awarding a work order to a foreign company,” she added.
In her scripted reply, the premier also tagged 153 pages, which includes news items, published in different local and foreign media and social media as an evidence of corruptions committed by Tarique and Koko and other people and organisations.
Recently, a drive against corruption in Saudi Arabia revealed that Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman siphoned off Tk 500 crore to Saudi Arabia.
Besides, they also laundered Tk 1,200 crore to Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the Middle East.
Lawmaker Fazilatun Nasa Bappy alleged that Tarique has a joint business venture with mafia Don Daud Ibrahim. They have a joint account worth Tk 400 crore. “According to a research organisation named ‘People’s and Politics’, the amount of Tarique’s illegal property is worth $ 225 crore,” she said.
Bappy asked the premier whether the government would take measures to bring back the money and bring them under book.
Responding to the question, the premier said her government is firmly committed to taking legal actions against those who have earned wealth through corruption or illegal means.
She said that a task force headed by the Attorney General has been working to bring back the laundered money.
In reply to a supplementary question, the premier said she placed news items of various media on the corruption of Zia family in her scripted reply.
“Now different organisations will verify the information. Khaleda Zia should protest if these news stories are false,” Hasina said.