ACC finds evidence of illegal transactions of Tk61 crore in one bank in the country
Online casino kingpin Salim Pradhan, who allegedly used to play casino at the Monte Carlo resort in Las Vegas on a regular basis, has made a large amount of illegal transactions in JPMorgan Chase Bank in the United States.
The record of Salim Pradhan's buying casino chips worth crores of taka from the resort is now in the hands of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
From there, he purchased casino playing equipment and brought it to Bangladesh. This information is also in the hands of the ACC.
The ACC has filed a Mutual Legal Assistance Request (MLAR) in the United States to collect official records from the country to prove the case with documents.
According to ACC Commissioner Dr Mozammel Haque Khan, "Whenever we get such information, we do MLAR for specific official evidence. In this case too, we have done so. Earlier also we sent MLAs to several countries asking for more information about Salim Pradhan and got the information."
Meanwhile, the investigation agency has received surprising information in its analysis of Salim Pradhan's loans in banks in Bangladesh. Multiple high-level ACC sources have confirmed the matter with The Business Standard.
Sources said that evidence has been found of transactions of Tk61 crore in 11 months in a savings account of Motijheel branch of Prime Bank. The ACC did not get a specific source of this money. Evidence has also been found that he smuggled most of the money to Thailand.
According to ACC sources, the investigating officer and ACC deputy director Gulshan Anwar Pradhan, during the investigation of the case against Salim Pradhan, seized more than 50 bank accounts in Bangladesh.
Besides, through sending letters, necessary records have been collected from 76 institutions of the country. The ACC has also seized the income tax documents of Salim Pradhan.
A record of foreign money that was with him at the time of his arrest has also been made. In addition, the investigating officer sent letters to Japan, Thailand, the United States and Singapore to collect information on what assets Salim Pradhan has abroad. The ACC has already received information from Thailand and the United States about Salim Pradhan.
According to information received from Thailand, Salim Pradhan owns seven companies in that country and he has illegally transacted money to the tune of over Tk20 crore there. Besides, he has laundered Tk13 crore from his illegal online casino business.
According to ACC sources, Salim Pradhan laundered at least Tk13 crore to Thailand which he had earned from his online casino business.
The ACC has come upon detailed information about the seven companies, including Pradhan Global Trading, Asia United and Toma Home Pattaya, owned by Salim Pradhan. Besides, the ACC has found evidence of illegal transactions in Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, in the first week of October, the commission's Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Unit sent an MLAR to the Thailand government asking it to share information about Salim Pradhan's investment in the country.
ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee spoke to The Business Standard on the matter, saying, "The commission sent the MLAR through the Attorney General's Office."
The investigating officer of Salim Pradhan's case, ACC Deputy Director Gulshan Anwar Pradhan, made the request as he obtained information that Salim Pradhan had laundered a large amount of money to Thailand through online casino business.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police submitted a charge-sheet against Salim Pradhan and his five associates on 24 September over the laundering of Tk13 crore abroad.
The CID also found a luxury villa in Thailand and nine other businesses that belong to the accused.
"The CID also seized two cheques worth Tk60 crore while investigating the money laundering cases."
Salim Prodhan was arrested from a Bangkok-bound Thai Airways flight at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on 30 September last year over his alleged involvement in running an online casino business.
Later that night, the Rapid Action Battalion raided his office and residence in Gulshan and arrested Salim Pradhan's associates Akhtaruzzaman, Roman and Masum.
The elite force also seized 48 bottles of foreign liquor, Tk28 lakh in cash, foreign currencies of 23 countries worth around Tk77 lakh, 12 passports, 32 cheque books of 13 banks, one large server used in game operationd, four laptops and two deer hides.
A mobile court of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) also sentenced Salim to six months' imprisonment for illegal possession of the deer hides.
Later on 27 October last year, the ACC filed a case against Salim Pradhan for amassing illegal wealth to the tune of Tk12.27 crore.
Salim Pradhan is the chairman of a business group named "Prodhan Group". This group has a sister concern named "P24 Gaming" and the website of this company contains information on casino and online casino business.
According to ACC sources, the anti-corruption watchdog will soon file a charge sheet against Salim Pradhan.