AB Bank has filed a case against 15 persons, including a former chairman and two managing directors, over their alleged involvement in laundering $20 million abroad.
The private commercial bank filed the suit on November 20 with the 1st Joint District Judge’s Court in Dhaka to realise the amount, according to a press release sent out by the lender yesterday.
The accused include M Wahidul Haque, who was serving as chairman of AB Bank when the laundering took place, Shamim Ahmed Chaudhury and Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury, former managing directors, Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal, a former head of financial institutions and treasury, and Mahadev Sarker, former chief financial officer.
The laundering process started off when the bank’s board of directors approved an investment of $20 million in December 2013.
The investment was set to be made in a Singapore-based fundraising and investment company, Pinnacle Global Fund Pte Ltd (PGF).
In February 2014, the bank’s offshore banking unit transferred the money to an account of UAE-based Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).
The account belonged to Cheng Bao General Trading LLC which acted as a mediator for the PGF. The Cheng Bao immediately withdrew the money and closed the account.
The first generation private bank was also found to have signed the investment deal with the PGF on a white paper, raising questions about the deal’s effectiveness, according to a central bank investigation of 2017.
The BB probe found that Wahidul was named as a nominee of the transferred amount and a joint signatory of the ADCB account. He visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February 2014 to complete the deal.
One of the 15 accused is a Canadian citizen, Abdus Samad Khan, who signed the deal on behalf of the PGF. In the papers, he was mentioned to be a PGF director but in another document he was referred to as a partner of the firm.
AB Bank in its press release said the $20 million was withdrawn without its knowledge.
“It has been alleged that the defendants of this case were parties to a conspiracy to defraud AB Bank of $20 million and for which the bank officials did not comply with proper internal procedures and failed to keep proper records,” it said.
The financial health of AB Bank, a first generation private bank established in 1983, has been deteriorating for the last several years due to rising bad loans.
The bank’s share was last traded at Tk 7.90 on Thursday against its face value of Tk 10.