The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has found 62 people involved in alleged money laundering by Prashant Kumar Haldar alias PK Haldar, former managing director (MD) of International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL) and NRB Global Bank.
Disclosing the information to media on Thursday, ACC Secretary Dr Md Anwar Hossain Hawladar said, "It is a burning issue now. So far, the investigation officer has found the names of 62 people in connection with the alleged embezzlement of thousands of crores of taka. In the meantime, some have been questioned."
ACC Deputy Director Md Gulshan Anwar Pradhan is investigating the case. Thus far, the ACC has seized Tk1,057.80 crore from these 62 individuals, the secretary added.
On 8 January last year, the ACC filed a case against PK Haldar for allegedly acquiring illegal assets worth around Tk275 crore. ACC Deputy Director Mohammad Salauddin is investigating the case. As part of the investigation, the ACC arrested Haldar's close associate Avantika Baral on Wednesday.
Another 'associate', who is a conch trader, was also arrested on 4 January.
According to ACC sources, the investigation into the money laundering of PK Haldar is almost at its final stages. While he was the MD of Reliance Finance, Haldar, along with his relatives, became the independent director of several other leasing companies and used various means to embezzle money from them, including People's Leasing.
Haldar embezzled Tk3,000 crore of People's Leasing in various ways, eventually rendering the company bankrupt.
According to the investigation, PK Haldar has embezzled at least Tk11,000 crore from multiple organisations. ACC sources said thar the amount of money discovered so far in the investigation may increase further.
Aside from this, the ACC has received information from undisclosed sources that PK Haldar has smuggled around thousands of crores of taka to Singapore, India and Canada.
On 28 June, PK Haldar, who is currently overseas, appealed to the current managing director of ILFSL to make necessary arrangements for his return to Bangladesh.
Although the court did allow it, Haldar did not return and an arrest warrant was issued against him through Interpol.
Four more interrogated
The ACC interrogated Sami Huda, CEO and MD of People's Leasing and Financial Services Limited; Kazi Ahmed Jamal, executive vice president; Manik Lal Sammadar, CFO; and Md Mahmud Kaiser, head of credit, at the ACC office on Thursday.
At the end of the interrogation, Sami Huda told reporters that there was no financial corruption in People's Leasing during his tenure.
"There must have been corruption, otherwise the ACC would not have called. However, there has been no corruption since 2016," he said.
ACC wants information of money launderers abroad as soon as possible
The ACC Secretary told reporters that they want the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to release information on the money launderers as soon as possible.
According to ACC sources, the ACC sent a letter again to the Ministry of External Affairs on 11 January, asking for the names of Bangladeshi nationals who have purchased luxury residences or flats abroad (Canada, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore).
The letter to the foreign secretary reads that the ACC has been made one of the respondents in a suo moto rule of the High Court in the wake of reports by various media outlets of money laundering and the purchase of luxury flats abroad, instructing the ministry to review the list of Bangladeshi nationals who have bought residences or flats abroad and to take legal actions against money launderers.
On 22 October last year, the ACC had sent another letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking for a list of Bangladeshis who had obtained citizenship in different countries by investing laundered money.