The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Monday lodged five embezzlement and money laundering cases against 31 individuals, including Proshanta Kumar Halder, over approving Tk351 crore loans to five ghost companies, and subsequently embezzling the amount.
Proshanta Kumar Halder – also known as PK Halder – was the director of the International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL) during the loan disbursements. He fled the country after embezzling and laundering several thousand crores of taka – one of the country's biggest financial scams.
Aside from Halder, ILFSL former Managing Director Rashedul Haque has been accused in all five ACC cases. Other accused include former ILFSL Chairman MA Hashem, its nine board members, and relatives and friends of PK Halder.
According to ACC Secretary Mohammad Anwar Hossain Howlader, Rashedul and former Chairman of People's Leasing & Financial Services Limited, Uzzal Kumar Nandi were two of PK Halder's close accomplices who released the loans against the ghost enterprises.
The duo was arrested Sunday.
ACC secretary said the five ghost companies are Annan Chemicals, Sukhada Properties Limited, Messrs Born, Rahman Chemicals and Moon Properties.
According to the ACC, the accused helped the ghost companies to get the loans, withdrew the amount from International Leasing, and laundered it to multiple accounts through layering -- a process of separating the proceeds of criminal activity from their origin.
In another development Monday, a Dhaka court granted the ACC a five-day remand to interrogate Rashedul and Uzzal.
According to ACC sources, Rashedul was very close to PK Halder. In 2010, PK Halder was the managing director of Reliance Finance while Rashedul was its deputy managing director.
In 2015, PK Halder assumed the post of managing director of NRB Global Bank, while Rashedul joined International Leasing as the managing director.
After assuming office as the managing director, Rashedul approved the loans without following any verification process. Peddling PK Halder's influence and using his support, he approved around Tk2,500 crore loans to 40 companies, most without any mortgage.
Along with PK Halder's friend Uzzal, Rashedul also embezzled several crores of taka after taking loans against ghost companies.
The ACC has been investigating PK Halder for quite some time now. ACC sources said they will soon launch a series of cases against PK Halder's nexus.
Sources said bank accounts of Halder's 82 associates have already been frozen in connection to the International Leasing scam. Travel bans have been imposed on ten individuals, including International Leasing's managing director and chief financial officer.
The ACC is now investigating the case filed against PK Halder on 8 January last year over accumulation of illegal wealth, valued at Tk275 crore. The swindler is currently facing an Interpol arrest warrant, while a Dhaka court has already ordered the seizure of all his assets.
The ACC has already arrested PK Halder's associates Shankha Bepari, Abantika Boral, tax lawyer Sukumar Mridha and his daughter Anindita Mridha. The anti-graft watchdog is now interrogating Abantika Boral on a three-day remand from Monday.
The accused are Proshanta Kumar Halder, Uzzal Kumar Nandi, Rashedul Haque, Nurul Alam, Nasim Anwar, Md Nuruzzaman, MA Hashem, Mohammad Abul Hashem, Zahirul Alam, Anwarul Kabir, Nowsherul Islam, Basudeb Banerjee, Papia Banerjee, Mizanur Rahman, Syed Abed Hasan, Nahida Runai, Al Mamun Sohag, Rafsan Riyad Chowdhury, Rafiqul Islam Khan and Morzina Begum.
Others accused in the case are PK Halder's brother Pritish Kumar Halder, relative Shankha Bepari, Amitabh Adhikari, Rajib Som, Swapan Kumar Mistry, Kazi Momrez Mahmud, Purnima Rani Haldar, Ratan Kumar Biswas, Omar Sharif, Abhijit Adhikari and Anang Mohan Roy.