Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said Switzerland Ambassador to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard’s claims that the government did not ask for any specific information on the Swiss bank accounts of its citizens is untrue.
On Thursday, Momen said: “She’s lied.”
Earlier in the day, the High Court ordered the government to explain why it had not sought information on funds deposited by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks.
Momen said he spoke to Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder and Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin about seeking information.
“They said we had asked [for information] earlier, but they did not respond. I asked them to tell this to the public. No one should get away with such lies.”
Asked whether the Swiss Embassy will be contacted over the matter, he said: “Let the governor or the finance ministry issue a statement first, then we’ll tell them.”
Bangladesh Bank spokesman Serajul Islam said the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit or BFIU, had written to the Swiss authorities soliciting information and put the information in its reports.
The BFIU, which was formed to prevent money laundering and terror financing, released a report in June.
Md Kamal Hossain, an additional director at the BFIU, said at the time they had received information on 67 Bangladeshi individuals and organisations from the Swiss National Bank.
They forwarded the information to the law-enforcing agencies, the Anti-Corruption Commission and investigators of other agencies.
Speaking at an event organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh on Wednesday, Ambassador Chuard said Switzerland had provided the government with all available information on “how to reach an agreement on these matters.”
“But no request has been submitted regarding particular funds,” she added.
Asked whether the government had sought any information on money laundering, Chuard added that no request had been made ‘about specific funding’.