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Bangladeshis' deposits in Swiss banks rise to Tk5,347 crore

  • Published at 01:39 am June 28th, 2019
Swiss bank-REUTERS
A national flag of Switzerland flies in front of a branch office of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Luzern October 30, 2014 REUTERS

The amount rose to 617.72 million Swiss Francs (Tk5,347 crore) in 2018 from 481.31 million Francs (Tk 4,166 crore) in the previous year

Bangladeshi nationals' deposits with various Swiss banks rose by 28.34% year-on-year in 2018.

The amount rose to 617.72 million Swiss Francs (Tk5,347 crore) in 2018 from 481.31 million Francs (Tk 4,166 crore) in the previous year.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) came up with the data in its annual report titled “Banks in Switzerland 2018” on Thursday.

The amount decreased to around 481.31 million Swiss francs in 2017 from 661.96 million francs in 2016.

“The money laundering increased in the face of instability due to the national election of 2018," Former Finance Adviser to the caretaker government AB Miza Azizul Islam told Dhaka Tribune.

He claimed that most of the money was laundered by unscrupulous businessmen through ‘under-and over-invoicing’ in international trade.

“As no better investment friendly environment is prevailing in the country, the money is going out,” he added.

Azizul Islam also said the government should make contact with the Swiss Banks, and publish a list of the depositors. "Then actions should be taken against them," he opined.

Over the last four years, the central bank has been seeking information from the Swiss banks about Bangladeshi depositors, but did not receive any reply, according to finance ministry officials.

The central bank also sent two letters to Swiss National Bank (SNB) seeking wealth information about controversial Bangladeshi businessman Moosa Bin Shamsher, and his family, but it didn’t respond.

Unlike Bangladesh, India receives information about its depositors in Swiss Banks under the “Automatic Exchange of Information” agreement with the country.

Money parked by Bangladeshis in the Swiss banks totalled around 550.85 million francs in 2015, and 506.04 million francs in 2014.

Financial deposits held by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks fell by over a quarter in 2017 after Switzerland bent to pressure from the US, and the European Union, and relaxed its secrecy law.

Financial experts say that Swiss banks, with their strict confidentiality, have also proven to be a safe haven for those looking to conceal their wealth.