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Tk 2,805 cr siphoned off from JBL branch

BB suspends AD license over FDB purchase irregularities

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan  :
The central bank has suspended authorized dealer (AD) license of Janata Bank Limited's (JBL) Imamganj Branch due to irregularities in foreign documentary bill (FDB) purchase, especially from the Crescent Group.
Officials said, the suspension order has been issued through a letter to the Bank's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer recently,     
"The license has been suspended as the branch failed to bring down the net open position (NOP) despite repeated warnings by the central bank. The NOP of the branch exceeded the permissible level due to irregularities in FDP purchase," a Bangladesh Bank (BB) official told The New Nation yesterday, asking not to be named.
He said the central bank has asked the bank authorities to determine the FDB liabilities (both settled and unsettled) of the Imamganj Branch and transfer them to another nominated AD branch of the bank immediately.
"Massive irregularities were found in FDP purchase from Crescent Group and it in tern helped the company to siphon off Tk 2,805 crore from the branch.
He said even the companies of the Group--Crescent Leather Products Limited, Rupali Composite Leatherwear Limited and Remix Footwear Limited--availed Tk 408.23 crore export subsidies against these bills causing drainage to the government funds.
Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), the anti-money-laundering arm of the central bank, exposed the major export fraud recently while conducting an investigation in the branch located in the old part of Dhaka city.
 "The subsidy was provided to the companies even if 653 overdue export bills violating the central bank's directive stated in its Foreign Exchange (FE) circular related to export subsidy," the BB official said.  
He further said all these violations forced the central bank to suspend the AD license (No-ECP 20/601/72) of the branch issued on April 12, 1972.
BB earlier deducted Tk 408.23 crore from Janata Bank's reserve account with it in connection with Crescent Group's export subsidy scam.
M A Kader, a prominent businessman in the country's leather industry, owns the Crescent Group.
Referring to the investigation report of BFIU, the central bank official said the companies of Crescent Group had not export anything, but availed themselves of the subsidy benefits providing fake documents.
Abdus Salam Azad, Managing Director of Janata Bank, could not be reached for comment. 

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