An international gambling racket has been siphoning off crores of taka from the country every day through laundering and investing in cryptocurrencies.
The local network of the racketeers mostly depends on mobile banking services for their transactions.
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Law enforcers have detected over 2,300 active agent accounts at online gambling sites. Officials believe that the individuals behind the accounts illegally send up to Tk 50 crore abroad a day. They send money through laundering and buying cryptocurrencies.
Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange regulations make cryptocurrencies illegal in Bangladesh.
Officers of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of police said they “got the details of the syndicate by interrogating a man, who used to have four agent accounts with online gambling sites.”
The man named Md Mohiuddin Parvez, 27, was arrested in the capital’s Badda area on June 14, said Additional Deputy Commissioner Tohidul Islam of the CTTC.
The CTTC officers seized six laptops and five mobile phones from him.
Parvez, a graduate of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, maintained the four agent accounts over the last seven months. He only had a small rented room for office in the capital’s Badda area, Tohidul said.
But his daily earning could be as high as Tk 1.5 lakh, the officer said, “In four agent accounts, Parvez used to make transactions of up to Tk 50 lakh a day. On June 14, right before he got busted, Parvez deposited around Tk 82 lakh to different bank accounts in the country.”
Each of his six employees were paid Tk 30,000 a month.
Parvez made a confessional statement at a Dhaka court yesterday after the end of being on remand for three days.
“We have the details of over a dozen people with gambling agent accounts. They are on our watch. Through these 2,300 gambling agent accounts, at least Tk 50 crore could be siphoned from the country in a day,” added Tohidul.
Officers have identified two individuals from Russia and Cyprus as the ringleaders, he said.
“We would seek support from the Interpol to track them down,” he said.
Parvez told investigators that he had communications with someone named Michel Victor. Parvez requested him for an agent account of the online gambling site 1xbet.
Victor then asked Parvez for his personal details. Once he provided it, someone named Tom contacted him and asked him to deposit $5,000 dollar to the bank accounts of a Bangladeshi fashion house and an IT firm, investigators said.
“Once Parvez deposited the money, he had his agent account,” Tohidul said.
The money was sent back to the agent in the form of cryptocurrency, he said.
“We have several fashion houses and IT firms on our list. We are investigating their link with the gambling nexus.”
Besides 1xBet, Melbet and Linebet are also popular gambling sites in Bangladesh. The sites are maintained from Russia.
Parvez told investigators that agents like him mainly receive money from local gamblers through Bkash and other mobile banking services.
People like Parvez maintain several agent accounts with the mobile banking services, also known as MFS. Once a gambler deposits money through MFS, the agent launder the money out of the country.
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