Former managing director (MD) of International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL) Prashant Kumar (PK) Haldar, a fugitive accused of laundering more than Tk10,000 crore, allegedly forged NIDs to commit fraudulent activities. He has also allegedly registered many organisations using the same address.
The Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) inquiry team – led by ACC Deputy Director Gulshan Anwar Pradhan – looking into the matter, has found evidence of the registration of at least 14 organisations at just two addresses, which he used to avail loans and launder money.
According to ACC sources, while Haldar was the MD of Reliance Leasing, he approved a loan of Tk150 crore in the name of Irfan Ahmed Khan, owner of JK Trade International and Faisal Mustaq, owner of Vars Metal Industries. In reality, no such people exist.
Haldar used fake NIDs to get trade licences in their names. The addresses provided in both documents are also fake, the sources added.
In the name of JK Trade International, about Tk200 crore disbursed as loan, was embezzled from International Leasing. A loan of Tk100 crore was provided from FAS Finance, the sources continued.
Haldar embezzled about Tk450 crore from three financial institutions in their names. The ACC has found evidence that Haldar's close friend Abdul Alim Chowdhury, a defaulting businessman from Chattogram, was an accomplice in the fraud.
Alim Chowdhury was the sole owner of Radisson Blu Hotel in Cox's Bazar. He later sold the hotel to PK Haldar for Tk84 crore.
According to the ACC inquiry, Abdul Alim Chowdhury got several loans approved for himself through PK Haldar. In return, he assisted Haldar with various loan frauds and money laundering.
The ACC has information that Alim Chowdhury himself smuggled around Tk650 crore abroad with loans from various banks. Moreover, he built a five-star hotel in Montenegro at Tk600 crore, in which PK Haldar also has a partnership.
Additionally, multiple bank accounts were opened in the Jubilee Road and Station Road branches of One Bank in Chattogram in the name of JK Trade International. In the same way, another non-existent company called BD Trading was opened, which is owned by Irfan. About Tk400 crore was smuggled abroad, between 2014 and 2018, through these two organisations, the ACC finds.
In the same vein, International Leasing gave a fake loan of around Tk100 crore to a paper company called Drinan with a fake NID. With two dozen paper companies – including Wakama Ltd, P and L, Kanika, Wintel International, Deya Shipping, Arbi, Varna, Neutrical, Moon, Arthscope, and MTB Marine – PK Haldar and his associates have looted thousands of crores of money from four financial institutions.
After a long investigation, the investigation team led by Anwar Pradhan, filed five cases against 31 people, including Haldar, on 25 January. The ACC has said more cases will be filed in its continuation.
Ujjwal Kumar Nandi, former chairman of People's Leasing, and former ILFSL MD Rashedul Haque have been arrested in the cases.
Arrested Rashedul in his statement to the court, pointed out various tactics of Haldar's fraud.
He said Haldar used to give financial benefits to a former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank and a former general manager (now executive director) to suppress information of his swindling. Through them, the information of all misdeeds was evaded by the high levels of the central bank.
Earlier, ACC Deputy Director Mohammad Salauddin investigated the case filed by the commission against PK Haldar on 8 January last year for allegedly acquiring illegal assets worth around Tk275 crore.
Haldar's close associates Sukumar Mridha and his daughter Anindita Mridha, Asim Kumar Mistry, Avantika Baral and Shankho Bepari were also arrested as part of the investigation into the case.
Later, the ACC filed a case against Sukumar Mridha, Tapsi Rani Sikder, Asim Kumar Mistry, Swapan Kumar Mistry, and Anindita Mridha for acquiring illegal assets inconsistent with the known income.
On 28 June, PK Haldar, who is abroad, appealed to the current managing director of ILFSL to make arrangements for his return to Bangladesh.
Although the court allowed it, PK Haldar did not return and an arrest warrant was issued against him through Interpol.