Illegal gambling business at the casino had been running in the club for at least a decade
Mohammedan Sporting Club acting director Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan has allegedly laundered at least Tk41 crore he earned from the club's casino business.
For the last two to three years, Lokman, also the general secretary of the club, sent the money to his accounts with two Australian banks – the ANZ Bank and the Commonwealth Bank.
He earned the money by personally renting a club room for casino business to Mominul Haque Saeed, the joint secretary of the Dhaka South Jubo League and councillor of Ward 9 of the Dhaka South City Corporation.
Former central executive committee member of the BNP, Lokman also gave a percentage of his earnings to leaders of both the BNP and the ruling Awami League for political backing.
During primary interrogation, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) came to know about Lokman's money laundering and developing of links with top political leaders in exchange for commission, said RAB-2 Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Ashik Billah at a press briefing on Thursday at Mohammadpur in Dhaka.
According to the elite force, the club had been running casino business for at least a decade. To run the illegal business, the club authority also brought changes to its regulations.
Mominul Haque Saeed, who is a good friend of Lokman and ran the casino at the club under Lokman's influence, fled the country before the drive started on September 18.
"Saeed used to run casino in a rented a room of the club and give Tk70,000 per night to Lokman," the RAB officer added.
According to Ashik Billah, Lokman admitted that he cooperated with Saeed in running the illegal casino and sent him money. The RAB is now looking for Saeed.
So far, Lokman has accumulated around Tk43 crore, including Tk2 crore of his real estate wealth, the RAB commanding officer said.
Lokman's son studies in Australia and Lokman would often visit the country. During his visits, he deposited most of the money in two Australian banks, said the RAB officer.
After the law enforcement agencies had launched drives against illegal casino at the Mohammedan club, Lokman frequently changed his locations to escape arrest.
"On the basis of intelligence information, we later conducted raid on Dhaka's Tejgaon Monipuripara area and arrested him with four bottles of liquor," Ashik Billah said.
Asked about the possibility of Dhaka South Jubo League President Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat's involvement with Lokman, the RAB official said they did not find any such information in the primary interrogation.
A case has been filed against Lokman under the Narcotics Act with the Tejgaon police station. Meanwhile, another case might be lodged against him after further investigation into Lokman's money laundering issue.
The rise of Lokman
Lokman Hossain Bhuyian once used to work as a bodyguard of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, according to sources.
Subsequently, he was made a central leader of the BNP executive committee.
After the 1990s, he joined the Mohammedan Sporting Club as its general secretary – a position which he still holds.
Sources also said he entered the club committee with the help of Mosaddeq Ali Falu, former special assistant to Khaleda Zia.
After the fall of the BNP government, Lokman developed a bond with ruling Awami League leaders and apparently accumulated much power.
Maintaining a good relationship with a ruling party lawmaker and influential politician, he also got involved with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and was selected its director.
After joining the BCB, the BNP expelled him from the party's national committee. But after that, Lokman did not need to look back.
Due to a strong bond with the ruling party politicians, he turned into a millionaire overnight.
In the process, Lokman Hossain became friends with Mominul Haque Saeed and turned into a money spinner. Besides, they were involved in tender manipulation.
From these kinds of illegal activities, Lokman earned more than Tk100 crore within a decade.
Sources said Lokman owns a seven-storey building in the capital's Tejkunipara area. He has another residence in Sector 8 of Uttara.
Lokman has 12 decimals of land in the Purbachal project and 78 decimals of land in Mirpur Beribandh area.
He runs a travel agency named Vintage Travel and Tours located in Gulshan. He also owns the advertisement agency Dhaka Communications, IT firm Roots Technologies, and a Hajj agency.
RAB sources also came to know that he has fixed deposits worth crores of taka in Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.