Transacts Tk 700 cr per day
Mahmuz Emran: You need foreign currency urgently. Going to the bank or exchange may also feel risky. He knew from an acquaintance that there is an opportunity to get foreign currency including dollar and euro at home. You don’t have to go, the money exchange representative is looking for you with a bag of foreign currency on his shoulder. They are building a network by increasing phone to phone communication. There are target customers. Taking more money than the fixed rate in return.
As with many daily necessities, home delivery matches any foreign currency. But not all exchanges, a class of illegal exchanges associated with this process. Those who are transacting more than Tk 700 crore daily. This information came out in the operation of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police.
It is known that in the middle of 2022, in the midst of instability with the dollar, Bangladesh Bank said that out of the 235 approved, about seven hundred more money changers are operating without approval. So far, the number of illegal money exchanges in the country has increased to more than 1000. Illegal foreign currency transactions are going on in these illegal money exchanges. Launched home delivery service. Detectives have information that many people are also smuggling abroad through hundi.
Each of the more than 1,000 illegal money exchange organizations illegally buys and sells foreign currency worth about Tk 70-75 lakh on an average every day. More than Tk 700 crore are traded illegally in these unauthorized money exchanges every day.
Due to the operation of CID, many illegal companies are doing business by closing their offices and walking around with bags on their shoulders. Which is delivering the amount of foreign currency wherever it is needed. Taking more than the fair value of the dollar or other foreign currency in exchange. These illegal money exchanges have some target customers. They are trading foreign currency illegally.
14 people were arrested in a CID operation recently. Tk One crore 99 lakh 61 thousand 376 including currencies of 19 countries worth Tk 1 crore 11 lakh 19 thousand 826 were seized from them.
It is known that the global corona situation and the Russia-Ukraine war have destabilized the foreign exchange market. This led to an increase in the price of daily necessities including fuel oil. It also affects Bangladesh. In such a situation, some unscrupulous foreign exchange traders in the country are increasing the prices by creating artificial crisis of foreign exchange and hoarding US dollars to make illegal profit. The US dollar rose from Tk 85 to Tk 123.
Just like the role of illegal money exchange in this work, the role of some legal money exchange was also questionable.
The CID, with the help of Bangladesh Bank, has already launched investigations against several illegal money exchanges to control the rise in the dollar.
According to the CID, the investigation against the illegal money exchange began after the dollar rose in the country. Bangladesh Bank also directed various government agencies to stop some illegal money exchanges. Meanwhile, the work of making a list of illegal money exchange traders all over the country, including Dhaka, has started due to the closure of Hundi.
The owners have already closed down some of the establishments due to the law-and-order enforcement. However, even if the company is closed, their business does not stop. Only in Uttara, Ashkona, Dilkusha, Mohammadpur, Mirpur and Gulshan areas of the capital, at least half a hundred illegal money exchange businesses are running under the nose of the administration.
The CID says the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has given them a list of illegal money exchanges. Besides, the CID has prepared another list based on intelligence information. CID is investigating these two lists.
CID officials said that letters have been sent to various government agencies seeking information about the assets of people involved in illegal money exchange business. Notices have been given to some institutions. Some of the establishments have already been closed by the respective owners after receiving the notice of CID.
Special Superintendent of Police of CID’s Financial Crime Unit of Organized Crime. Humayun Kabir told that CID started working against illegal money exchange since the beginning of dollar unrest. Initially listing a few hundred illegal money exchanges, the list has now grown to over a thousand. But we also monitor regularly. A case will be filed under the Special Powers Act against the 14 people arrested in yesterday’s operation for illegally keeping foreign currency in their custody for the purpose of hundi.
He said that the matter of concern is that each institution of more than 1000 illegal money exchanges illegally buys and sells foreign currency worth about Tk 70-75 lakh on an average every day. More than Tk 700 crore are traded illegally in these unauthorized money exchanges every day. In case of legitimate money exchange, the information goes to Bangladesh Bank.
In this regard, the Secretary General of the Money Changers Association of Bangladesh Helal Uddin Shikder said that we have 235 licensed money exchange institutions. Apart from this there are about 1000 illegal establishments. The lists are compiled by the Money Changers Association, CID and BFIU. We are constantly getting bad name for illegal institutions. That is why we strongly demand that illegal institutions should be closed.
He said that as a result of the CID’s operation, almost half of the illegal money exchange institutions have been closed down. But now those who are there are closing shops and buying and selling foreign currency through mobile phone as home delivery. If they sell in the open market, they will be caught by the law enforcers, that is why they are doing this secretly. They have some fixed customers.
When asked, CID chief Additional IGP Mohammad Ali Mia told that legal action is being taken to find out those who are behind the illegal money exchange organizations operating in institutional or non-institutional structures. No one will be exempted. There are some procedures before going abroad for work or treatment.
After getting the visa, if he shows the visa at any bank in Bangladesh, he will get foreign currency and the concerned bank is obliged to pay it. So why do they illegally buy Tk 100 per dollar for Tk 115 or Tk 120. It is wrong and illegal. We cannot encourage this illegal activity. When necessary, it should be taken from a legitimate bank or a legitimate money exchange institution.
In response to the question why illegal money exchange is increasing, the CID chief said that illegal money exchange is increasing because it is possible to make a profit in a very short time. We are conducting operations against illegal money exchange through Bangladesh Bank sources and CID sources. Not only CID but all agencies have to work together in money laundering. There is a separate law in this regard. It is being worked on accordingly. The campaign against illegal money laundering will continue.
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