About Tk one billion is being laundered from the country every month using the cyberspace of live video-streaming social app StreamKar, police said.
Several agencies that are called ‘beans agencies’ have been siphoning off the money for over the last one year. About 12-15 people are leading the agencies in Bangladesh.Md Mahiduzzaman, superintendent of police (Cyber Crime) of Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU), revealed the information at a press briefing at its Baridhara office in the capital on Wednesday following the arrest of four members of a beans agency from Dhaka and Noakhali.
The arrestees are Jamir Uddin, 35, Quamrul Hossain alias Rubel, 39, Manjurul Islam Hridoy, 26, and Anamika Sarkar, 24.
They were arrested from Banasree in the capital, Savar on the outskirts of the city and Sudharampur in Noakhali on Tuesday.
At the press briefing, Mohammad Aslam Khan, superintendent of police (Media and Awareness) of the ATU, said there are two types of IDs in StreamKar — one is Host ID and another is User ID.
He said the beans agencies recruit beautiful and smart young girls, particularly college and university goers, and celebrities. A Host ID is opened against each girl. The Host ID holders are assigned to make friends with men virtually, said Aslam.
The interested men have to open a User ID for doing live video chat with the Host ID holders. For video chatting, User ID holders have to buy beans, which is a virtual currency, from beans agencies and pay to Host ID holders as a so-called gift.One lakh beans equal Tk 1,080. The beans agencies have to buy the cyber currency from the admin of StreamKar app.
A User ID holder needs more than one lakh beans to do live video chat with a Host ID holder per day.
When the User ID holder sends one lakh beans to a Host ID holder for the video chat, the virtual currency turns into one lakh gems and one lakh gems are equal to Tk 600. It means the admin of the app takes Tk 480 while rest Tk 600 is taken by a beans agency. And the agency men pay a commission, which they call salary, to a Host ID holder on a monthly basis.
The Daily Sun obtained a so-called salary sheet of the Host ID holders, which was for June last year.
The Host ID holders were paid from 22,000 to Tk 1.78 lakh each based on generating gems.
The money is being transacted through mobile banking windows and an international bank, said Aslam.
Mahiduzzaman said they came to know that the beans agencies recruited about 1,000 beautiful girls as Host ID holders while there are several thousand User ID holders in the country.
About Tk one billion is being laundered through StreamKar app every month, he said.
In response to a query about whether officials of the international bank are involved in the practice, he said they were investigating the matter. “If they’re found involved, they’ll be brought to book.”
A case was filed against the arrestees with Savar Police Station under the Digital Security Act.