Lax-vigilance by authorities
Special Correspondent:Despite the ban in Bangladesh, money siphoning to abroad through crypto currency, many called as ‘Digital Hundi’ is going on unabated due to lax vigilance by the authorities concerned, it is alleged.
Sources said, a section of unscrupulous people, who possessed huge amount of black money are using bitcoins of crypto currency for money laundering abroad. As a result, illegal transactions including gambling, Hundi, smuggling and cyber extortion have increased nowadays compared to the previous period. Everything is going on through underground website, sources said.
According to cyber experts, law enforcers and economists, the pattern of Hundi has now changed. Digital Hundi is now going on with the cryptocurrency. Of them, Bitcoin is extremely popular and valuable. If proper measures are not taken in this regard, it can cause great loss to the economy of the country.
Mohidul Islam, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Cyber and Special Crimes, Dhaka Metropolitan Detective Police (DB) recentlytold the media that, the trading in cryptocurrency or bitcoin is like almost trading in the stock market. There are various cryptocurrencies in different countries including Europe. Of them, bitcoin, etherium, beans, gift codes, ripples and lightcoins are significant. Many are taking money abroad through cryptocurrencies. These are taken with the secret PIN number on the mobile.
Earlier on July 29, Bangladesh Bank (BB)in a notice warned the people about virtual currency or crypto currency especially about bitcoin. Bangladesh Bank issued the notification to clarify its position. In the notice, BB informed that Bitcoin is one of the well-known cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies. The number of virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies traded online is now over 8,000. Of them, Bitcoin is the most well-known. The current price of 1 bitcoin is more than $33,000. The coin has not been recognized by any legal authority in the world since its invention in 2008. However, several countries, such as Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, have taken steps to legalize transactions in this currency.
A statement further said that Bangladesh Bank has not approved any virtual currency or cryptocurrency.
Earlier onDecember 24 in 2017, Bangladesh Bank issued a warning notice in the media and on the website of Bangladesh Bank to refrain from trading in virtual currencies for the purpose of public awareness. The position of Bangladesh Bank is still there. All individuals and entities are again being requested to refrain from assisting in such transactions of any kind of cryptocurrency or virtual currency (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, etc.) and to refrain from promoting such activities to avoid potential financial and legal risks.
Even after several warnings by the BB, a section of people are using bitcoin to make illegal money and siphoning the undisclosed money abroad.
Though, many of them were arrested by the law enforcers several times, the trend of money smuggling through crypto currency or bitcoins is on the rise.
According to the intelligence sources, illegal bitcoins are being sold in the country randomly. A number of cycles have been established around it. Bitcoin is being bought from different countries and sold in the country’s market. Cryptocurrency or virtual currency is being used in more than 80 countries around the world. Bitcoin is one of the most popular currencies in cryptocurrency. Although it is banned in Bangladesh, some circles are secretly selling it. DMP’s Tejgaon intelligence department recently arrested a member of such a gang named Mahmudur Rahman Jewel, resident at Noakhali. Police also recovered a list of Bitcoin buyers from him. There are names of politicians and businessmen. Jewel purchased bitcoins from Malaysia, United Kingdom and Dubai. He has been carrying his illegal business since 2016 along with his four more associates. He was arrested by DB police on February 19.
Earlier on January, 13, RAB-1 arrested one bitcoin trader named Rayhan from Shafipur in Kaliakair of Gazipur.
On May 3, RAB arrested 12 members of bitcoin trading syndicate including main culprite Ismail Hossain Sumon.
On June 21, RAB-4 arrested four persons including Hamim Prince Khan for involvement with illegal bitcoin trading from the capital’s Darussalam area.
Other arrested are Rahul Sarkar, Sanjeev Dey alias Titas and Sohail Khan. Two laptops and two debit cards were seized from them.
They used to buy pornography from online dark porn sites by virtual currency and spread those in exchange of higher price. The cycle also snatched money from interested people by advertising virtual currency businesses on social media.
The RAB sources claimed that, the cycle used to do virtual transactions of Tk 1.5 crore per month. There was also a public group on social media Facebook. It was first started by a Swedish company. It was registered on January 25 in 2019 andits activities were started on August 1.
When this correspondent tried to contact with Md Sirajul Islam, Spokesperson and Executive Director of BB yesterday over cell phone for his comment, he could not reach.
Sohel Rana, AIG (media) of police headquarters said, “Police have beefed up surveillance to nab the people, who are involved with such illegal currency trading. If we get specific information about someone, we will take drastic action as per the conventional law.”
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