Transparency International Bangladesh has expressed grave concerns as names of several companies bearing Bangladesh's name and individuals have surfaced in the Paradise Papers.
The Paradise Papers are a set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investments that were leaked. It triggered a global investigation into the offshore activities of some of the world's most powerful people and companies.
The corruption watchdog called for taking necessary legal steps to bring the laundered money back and subject to proof, ensure strict punishment of those involved in the incident, said a TIB press release yesterday.
TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said a coordinated effort involving Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, Anti-Corruption Commission, National Board of Revenue and Attorney General Office, was needed to collect specific information about the names of individuals and companies surfaced in the Paradise Papers and to bring back the laundered money.
In the statement, TIB also expressed frustration as no effective measures were taken after the names of several Bangladeshis had surfaced in the Panama Papers.
He claimed that huge amounts of money have been laundered out of the country mainly to dodge taxes, taking advantage of the existing corruption-friendly legal and organisation structures at home and abroad and this has huge impact on the national economy.
One of the main responsibilities of the authorities concerned of the government was to take effective measure to stop money laundering and bring those involved with this to book, irrespective of their identities and positions, he said.
Iftekharuzzaman also said many famed banks and accounting companies were involved in the vested quarter and against this backdrop, laundered money has to be brought back through coordination among local organisations concerned and taking assistance of different international laws and organisations, including the United Nations' anti-corruption conventions.
Although it seemed difficult to bring the laundered money back and bring those involved to book, TIB thinks it is not impossible.
Willingness and effective measures from the government and the organisations concerned is needed to ensure that to happen, added the release.