Sunday, 14 August, 2022

Wasik-Lina couple smuggles gold, launders money

Wasik-Lina couple smuggles gold, launders money

So-called businessman Syed Wasikul Haque and his wife Shahrukh Chowdhury Lina have allegedly smuggled a large quantity of gold into the country and laundered a huge amount of money into Dubai.

The couple have smuggled gold from Dubai, imported clothes and siphoned off crores of taka abroad by setting up a boutique shop named Lina’s Thousand Things.

When law enforcers launched investigation, the couple fled the country, closing the boutique shop and suspending operation of the online business.

Allegations are rife that the couple used to import clothes made by Pakistan and India via Dubai in a bid to use illegal channels to evade tax.

Sources said airport immigration authorities detained Wasikul Haque along with Omega watch worth Tk 10 lakh, huge gold bars and wine on his return from Dubai on February 6.

Although Wasikul was released following intervention of various quarters and written undertaking, his wrongdoings provoked a further investigation against him and his wife.

The authorities claimed to have got much information analysing his passport and credit cards. Lina is a PR passport holder of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The couple move to and from the UAE frequently and smuggle gold and other valuables dodging the revenue.

In 2018, Lina imported gold and other products from Dubai and sent money through hundi, an improper channel of financial transaction.

They established Good Looks Garments Trading in the UAE. The family members of Lina are hand in glove.

Similarly, the credit card and NID of Lina have produced information on her bank accounts and dubious transactions.

On December 22 last year, her husband purchased gold worth Tk 34 lakh from the UAE and paid the bill through credit card.

For buying the huge quantity of gold, 2, 977 cents were refunded to his VISA card in tax refund.

He procured an Omega brand watch from Deira City Centre at the cost of 34, 850 dirham on December 31. He was detained with the watch and gold bars at Dhaka airport.

The investigators have found evidence of Tk 50 crore wealth of the couple so far. The properties include a duplex house at road 2 in Mirpur DOHS, a flat in Banasree, a shop named Good Luck in UAE, a shop in Gulshan Pink City, a shop in Police Plaza and three shops in Orchard Plaza in Dhanmondi.

Lina used to run her online boutique shop from Pink City, but she fled abroad following investigation.

She handed over the shop to its manager Mithun Roy who is running the shop named ‘Indian Creation’.

Moreover, the couple got permanent residency in Dubai following huge investment.

Washikul’s friend Zahirul Islam Khandker helped the couple launder money to the UAE and invest in business establishments.

After having numbers of Bangladeshi passports blocked, the couple crossed the immigration using Antigua and Barbuda passports, sources said.

Before leaving the country, they sold 76 bhories of gold with the help of manager Mithun and caretaker Khalil.

A Dhaka court issued warrant for arrest of the couple in connection with a case filed with Pallabi Police Station.

Some other cases for money laundering and cheating are going to be lodged.