Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank (BB) has detected suspicious transactions in the banking channels involving Tk 9.54 billion in FY 2019-20.
BFIU has received 306 suspicious transaction reports (SRTs) and suspicious transaction reports (SRTs) per month on an average in FY20, up from 298 in FY 19, according to the annual report of BFIU.The highest number of STRs and SARs was received in December 2019 and February 2020 respectively. On the other hand, the lowest number of STRs and SARs were received in April 2020 due to the general holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.
Different reporting organizations have lodged 1897 STRs of which there were 4535 suspicious transactions involving Tk 9547.97 million in FY 2019-20 while the number of reported suspicious transactions was 5036 involving Tk 10218.42 million in the previous year, the report said.
BFIU chief Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan told the Daily Sun that protecting the financial systems from laundered money and funds intended for financing terrorism remains a key component of national security.
As the central agency in Bangladesh to deal with these threats, BFIU is empowered by and assigned with a host of responsibilities under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2012 and Anti-Terrorism Act, 2009, said the BFIU chief, who also an Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank (BB).
He said the number of suspicious transactions has been increasing in a specific period, the BFIU is aware of new challenges and changes in the nature of threats that the next year may bring to light.
BFIU revealed in the fiscal year 2019-20 both the number of STR and SAR report and the volume of transactions has increased in the country.A comparative study BFIU showed that banks make up the largest part in the financial system of Bangladesh. The National Risk Assessment on Money Laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) reveals that the banking sector is more vulnerable to ML and TF for its wide range of products, services and network.
In FY 2019-20, BFIU received 2908 STRs and SARs (79.13 per cent of the total STRs & SARs) from the scheduled banks. Moreover, MFS were the second-highest reporting organizations lodging 703 STRs and SARs (19.13 per cent of the total STRs & SARs) to BFIU in FY 2019-20.
A comparative study of the STR and SAR received over the past five years shows that the number of complaints from the reporting agencies have increased enactment of MLPA in 2012.
The number of yearly receipt of STR and SAR was—1687 reports FY16, 2357 in FY17, 3878 in FY18, 3573 in FY19 and 3675 in FY20.
The number of STR and SAR has increased due to several reasons including the government’s special drive on casino, corruption and increased awareness among reporting organizations, the study report said.