Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said he was surprised to see the number of government officials who siphoned off money to Toronto, Canada, outnumbering politicians.
"It was an initial information. We've to verify it," he told reporters referring to information they have about 28 cases.
Of the 28 cases, only four are politicians while the rest are government officials, including a few businesspeople.
"I thought that the number of politicians would be higher. I got surprised though the information is not comprehensive…, " said the Foreign Minister.
He said many government officials have houses in Toronto and their children are studying there.
The Foreign Minister said such a situation is not only there in Canada, but also in Malaysia.
"It's difficult to get information," Dr Momen said adding that what they see in media reports on thousands of crores of money is siphoned off are not fully true considering the figure.
He said foreign countries are also responsible to some extent in this regard, saying Switzerland does not give them information on who is depositing money in their banks.
Dr Momen said they talk about transparency but they do not provide information, if sought. "Double standards exist there."
The Foreign Minister said it is fine if anybody takes money legally abroad but the government can bring it back under law if they send it illegally. "It's long been happening."
Dr Momen said they urge those who took the money abroad to invest it in Bangladesh.
Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) President Rafiqul Islam Azad and General Secretary Reaz Chowdhury also spoke at the "Meet the Reporters" programme held at Nasrul Hamid auditorium of the DRU.