- The CID recently arrested 3 agents of an online gambling site
- The trio smuggle Tk4 crores in four months
- Money is withdrawn through MFS and smuggled using hundi and other informal means
- No Investigation Under Money Laundering Act Encourages Gambling Site Operators
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has yet to launch money laundering investigations against online betting sites, which have sprung up in Bangladesh in recent years, despite finding evidence of money laundering on these sites.
The CID Cyber Police Center recently arrested 3 Bangladeshi officers from online gambling site Betwinner, which is owned by Cypriot company Marikit Hollings Limited and operated from Russia.
These agents withdraw money, deposited on the site, through mobile financial services and convert it into US dollars using a money exchange app called Binance. Later, the money is smuggled into different countries through Binance.
The arrested trio smuggled a few Tk4 crores in four months.
However, Muhammad Rezaul Masud, special superintendent of police at the Cyber Police Center, told The Business Standard that the investigation under the Money Laundering Act has yet to begin.
The Cyber and Special Crime wing of Detective Branch (DB) arrested 4 agents of online gambling site Shillong Teer in 2020. They recently filed the indictment in the case, filed under digital security law.
These gambling agents collect money from vendors in Dhaka and send the money to Jaflong from Sylhet through mobile financial services. The money is then smuggled to India via hundi, an informal money transfer mechanism, those involved in the investigation said.
Mohammad Tarek Bin Rashid, DB’s Deputy Commissioner of Police (DC), Cyber and Special Crime, told The Business Standard: “We have found preliminary evidence of money laundering against some of them. them during our investigation. We have reported our findings to the CID. However, no betting sites have yet been charged under the Money Laundering Act.”
CID’s Cyber Police Center and Cyber and Special Crime, DB are investigating at least 6 cases after the online gambling crackdown.
Gambling sites, identified so far, include 1xbet, mostbet, betbuzz.365 and bet365ni.
Officials linked to the investigation told The Business Standard that preliminary evidence of hundreds of millions of dollars of money laundering had been found against all of the betting sites. They laundered money through various channels including hundi and cryptocurrency.
Preliminary evidence of money laundering was sent to CID’s Financial Crimes Unit, which is tasked with investigating money laundering.
However, Humayun Kabir, special superintendent of police for the CID’s financial crime unit, told The Business Standard that the financial crime unit did not investigate these gambling sites.
“Cyber Police Center has cracked down on the gambling sites and they are investigating. They will also lead the money laundering investigation,” the head of the financial crime unit said.
Although online gambling has spread widely in the country since 2020, the slow investigation and lack of prosecutions so far are encouraging gambling site masterminds and gambling addicts.