Money laundering probe against S Alam underway: BFIU chief

The High Court directed an investigation into the claims that Alam bought huge amounts of properties abroad without the central bank's permission

Published : 20 Feb 2024, 11:09 AM
Updated : 20 Feb 2024, 11:09 AM

Masud Biswas, head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), has said that an investigation into money laundering allegations against Mohammad Saiful Alam, the owner of conglomerate S Alam Group, and his wife Farzana Parveen is underway.

He discussed the matter on Tuesday during an event marking the release of the BFIU's annual report, which focuses on combating money laundering and terrorism financing in Bangladesh.

The BFIU's latest report highlights a significant increase in suspicious financial transactions and activities within the country's financial sector over the past year.

S Alam Group, which has expanded from the edible oil and consumer goods market into the energy sector, came under judicial scrutiny following a newspaper indicating that Alam bought huge amounts of properties abroad without the Bangladesh Bank's approval.

Asked about the steps taken by the BFIU to address these allegations, Masud said, "Our activities are ongoing based on a court order. We are taking the necessary actions."

The issue gained public attention on Aug 4, 2023, when The Daily Star published an article titled 'S Alam's Aladdin's lamp'.

A lawyer subsequently brought the report to the High Court's attention two days later. The court later directed an investigation into the claims that Alam made large-scale property purchases abroad and built a business empire in Singapore valued at approximately $1 billion.

It also asked why the failure of the BFIU, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the central bank to prevent money laundering in this case would not be declared as illegal.

The Daily Star's report alleged that over the past decade, Alam purchased at least two hotels, two residential properties, one retail space, and other assets, while seeking to remove his name from the paper trails.