US Ambassador Earl R Miller yesterday said his country would continue to support Bangladesh in tackling money laundering and terrorist financing and strengthen the rule of law on the issue.
“It is not enough to adopt strong laws prohibiting money laundering and terrorism financing. The laws must be enforced by trained investigators, prosecutors, and analysts,” he said at an inaugural session of a three-day workshop.
Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), the US Department of Justice, and the US Department of State jointly organised the workshop titled “Financial Crimes: Investigation and Prosecution” at Hotel Amari in Dhaka.
Miller said stopping the flow of money to terrorists takes a regional and international effort.
“So, it is fitting we hold this workshop in Bangladesh, the co-chair of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering for the 2018-2020 term.”
He said many of these programmes have been jointly sponsored with the BFIU because of a common goal, which was preventing terrorism by way of identifying and choking off financial support for terrorists and their organisations.
“Together, we are working to build strong legal institutions that respect the rule of law and are, in turn, respected by our fellow citizens. It is what they expect; it is what they deserve.”
Through joint practical, hands on training like this, prosecutors, investigators, and regulators get to know each other and the unique and crucial role they play, according to the US ambassador to Bangladesh.
“And this is critical because terrorists are becoming more sophisticated all the time.”
“They are using methods and tools such as cryptocurrency, which you will hear about during this workshop. To stay ahead we must work smarter; we must work together and combine our knowledge and skills.”
Financial crime is a severe problem for any economy, which may collapse the entire state system, said Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, head of the BFIU.
International cooperation among the nations is very important as terrorist financing and money laundering is being perpetrated across the globe, he said.
“Bangladesh always puts highest importance on regional and international cooperation,” he said, adding that being a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, the country has been playing a vital role in extending cooperation to combat the financial crimes.
As a member of the Egmont Group, the BFIU also proactively responds to all the request of the international cooperation, he said. The Egmont Group, a body of 164 FIUs, provides a platform for the secure exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Officials of the BFIU, Anti-Corruption Commission, Criminal Investigation Department, the National Board of Revenue and the law, justice, and parliamentary affairs ministry, the Department of Narcotics Control, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate attended the event.