Tk405.5 crore has so far been frozen over casino-related scams while around Tk35 crore has been confiscated
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has written to the authorities in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore to know the amount of assets casino king Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat has in those countries.
Besides, several CID officials told The Business Standard they suspect that over Tk1,000 crore was laundered by Awami League-affiliated politician and Lakshmipur 2 independent lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam, widely known as Kazi Papul.
The CID said Tk405.5 crore had so far been frozen over casino-related scams while around Tk35 crore had been confiscated.
Mostafa Kamal, CID financial crime division special police superintendent, said Tk714.5 crore was frozen as part of investigating major financial scams that had taken place in the last four years, and a significant amount of that was related to casino schemes.
He said they were investigating 12 casino cases and of those, charge sheets had been submitted in eight.
"The remaining cases are under investigation. For investigation, we need information on assets held abroad and the amount of laundered money. That is why we wrote to the authorities in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore to get details," added the CID official.
Investigators said they had obtained information on money laundering while carrying out initial investigations and then started inquiries to get more information. Based on that, they filed fresh cases.
The CID on 13 September last year filed a case against expelled Jubo League leader Samrat on charge of laundering at least Tk195 crore to Malaysia and Singapore.
Mostafa said they suspect that Samrat might have laundered more and bought assets there.
The investigating authorities said Samrat, NRB Global Bank Managing Director Proshanta Kumar Halder, and Papul had laundered the bulk amount of their money abroad.
Samrat and Papul were accused in laundering cases filed by the CID. Meanwhile, the Interpol recently issued a red notice against Halder following a request by the Bangladeshi authorities.
CID officials said Samrat laundered money mainly to Singapore and Malaysia, and Papul to Middle East counties.
The CID in late December last year filed money laundering cases against Papul and his family, accusing them of illegally earning over Tk355 crore from over 500 bank accounts, including fixed deposit receipts (FDRs). The money was earned primarily from human trafficking in the last five years.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) started drives against illegal casino business on 18 September 2019. The first drive was conducted at Fakirerpool Young Men's Club in the capital.
During the raid, they detained Dhaka south Jubo League Organising Secretary Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, who was later expelled from the party.
RAB later conducted more than 50 raids countrywide and arrested 275 people for their alleged involvement in casino business and corruption.
Some other major clubs that were raided include Dhaka Wanderers Club, Muktijoddha Chitto Binodon Club, Muktijoddha Sporting Club, Kalabagan Sporting Club, Dhanmondi Club, Fu-Wang Club, Muktijoddha Club of Chattogram, Abahani Sporting Club of Chattogram, and Mohammedan Sporting Club of Chattogram.
RAB and police then arrested Samrat, Jubo League leader and influential contractor GK Shamim, and Selim Pradhan, who had been running online casinos.
Awami League Gendaria unit leaders Enamul Haque Enu and Rupon Bhuyian were arrested in February last year.
Some influential people, including Mominul Haque Saeed, expelled organising secretary of Dhaka Metropolitan south Jubo League, Jubo League central member Mizanur Rahman, former president of Dhaka Metropolitan north Chhatra League SM Rabiul Islam Sohel, and Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra leaseholder Ali Ahmed, were in hiding during the raids and returned home after the drives ended, said police sources.