Twenty-four businessmen from 20 companies and groups. Some of them have five star hotels, some run super shops and refuelling stations, while a few others are involved in real estate business in foreign countries.
Banks and financial institutes in Chattogram are in hot water as these "wilful" defaulters fled abroad without repaying loans of Tk11,300 crore.
Recovery of the loans now appears to be near impossible as their extradition is seemingly a very tough task with most of them having dual citizenship.
These businessmen had taken out loans from different banks and financial institutions on the pretexts of investing in consumer goods, garment, housing, agriculture and transport sectors.
Of the defaulters, 13 now reside in Canada, three in Malaysia, two in the United Kingdom, two in the United States, and one each in Australia, Montenegro, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, according to an investigation by The Business Standard.
The banks lodged multiple cases against them. Many of them were even convicted while warrants for some of their arrests were also issued.
Economist Professor Dr Moinul Islam holds the government responsible for not taking action to prevent such incidents.
Many businessmen have fled or are fleeing abroad after taking out loans from banks. They have already purchased homes and started businesses there. It is a matter of concern. The government is well aware of it too, he said.
Sonali Bank's zonal head in Chattogram M Jahangir Alam thinks an unhealthy competition among banks in lending is one of the reasons why clients default on loans. "Some businessmen have deliberately defaulted on loans and put the banks into deep trouble. The banks sued these defaulters, but it is becoming difficult to take effective actions against them as they have fled abroad."
Abul Hasan Shahabuddin, a lawyer handling cases in Artha Rin Adalat (money loan court), said if a case is filed against a person, they need to seek permission from the court to go abroad. But most defaulters have fled the country. Even some defaulters are rescheduling their loans while staying abroad.
Mostafa Group, owned by one of these 24 defaulters, owes Tk2,500 crore to over 30 banks and financial institutions – the highest amount among all of them.
Zahir Uddin, managing director of the group, migrated to Canada towards the end of 2019 without repaying the loans.
The group once had a very good time in consumer goods, transport and shipbreaking businesses. Once reigning supreme in the consumer goods business for a long time, it has been out of business for the last few years.
Hefazatur Rahman, chairman of the group and a longtime president of the Shipbreakers' Association, has no business in shipbreaking either. Consumer goods, edible oil, shipbreaking, agriculture, paper, fisheries, transport, shipping, securities and garment, all businesses of the group had been shut down.
Three brothers owning the MishMack Group, the second highest defaulter, had businesses in the shipbreaking and housing sectors and owe about Tk1,500 crore to various banks.
Starting its business in 2009-10, the companies under the group became defaulters in 2012. There are allegations that the three owners took loans from banks for business purposes, but laundered the money abroad. Later in 2013, the three siblings left the country.
Of the brothers, Mizanur Rahman Shaheen and Humayun Kabir currently live in Canada with their families, and Mujibur Rahman Milon lives in Singapore.
In 2009, Yasir Enterprise took big loans from various banks to import a large number of consumer goods. Mohammad Mozaher Hossain, owner of the company, migrated to Canada with his family in early 2014 without paying his debts to the banks.
Yasir Enterprise and Shapla Flower Mills of the Yasir Group defaulted on Tk 1,200 crore in loans from various banks.
Imam Group owner Mohammad Ali is on the run in Dubai with arrest warrants in 55 cases. Ali owes about Tk800 crore to several banks and financial institutions.
The businessman fled to the United Arab Emirates in January 2020 following a conviction and an arrest warrant in a case filed by the banks. He is currently residing in the UAE and doing business there.
The MAC Group, owned by three brothers – Joynal Abedin, Jamil Abedin and Mohammad Alauddin, started shipbreaking business in 2007 with loans taken out from different banks after leaving the consumer goods business. When the company was closed in 2012, Joynal moved to Canada with his family without repaying the bank loan, Jamil to Florida in the US.
MAC International owes more than Tk800 crore to 12 banks and financial institutions.
Kaniz Fatima Rashed and her husband Rashed Murad Ibrahim are both directors of the Crystal Group. Kaniz is also the managing director of Bay Navigation, a subsidiary of the group.
She migrated to Canada after defaulting on Tk800 crore of the group to various banks and financial institutions.
Gias Uddin Kusum, owner of Shah Amanat Iron Mart, started his business in 2010 in the shipbreaking industry. Earlier, he managed to take out Tk600 crore in loans without being involved in any business. He migrated to Canada in 2015 without repaying the loans even though he did business with the banks' money.
Legend Holdings owner SM Abdul Hai has defaulted on Tk525-crore loans taken out from four banks. Abdul Hai who had businesses in shipyard, garment and housing sectors has been living in Canada with his family since 2016.
Badshah Miaah Saudagar, owner of Badsha Group, used to do the business of soap and edible oil. Later, his two sons Isa Badshah and Musa Badshah expanded their business to various sectors including consumer goods import, dairy and ship breaking.
The two brothers could avail loans from various banks easily using their father's reputation. At the end of 2018, they migrated to Canada with their families. Eight banks have a combined total of Tk500 stuck with this group.
Clewiston Group, owned by Abdul Alim Chowdhury, took out bank loans to do business in various sectors, including import of consumer goods, shipyard, plastic recycling, agro, CNG filling station, beverage and manufacturing. He allegedly invested the loan amount in land and smuggled a portion to Montenegro in Europe. Alim now owes Tk400 to six banks and one non-bank financial institution.
Nazmul Abedin, owner of A&B Outwear, moved to London after taking out around Tk350 crore from four banks.
Shah Alam, owner of Alam & Co, has been absconding in Malaysia for the last two years. The businessman currently owes around Tk300 crore to eight banks.
The eight banks have so far filed 54 cases against Shah Alam. But, he left the country with his wife at the end of 2018 before the verdict in these cases.
Mohammad Morshed, a Chattogram-based garment trader and head of C&A Group, fled to the US without repaying Tk280 crore loans taken out from three banks. Most of the loans have now become either defaulted or classified.
Maksudul Alam, owner of MAF International, migrated to Australia with his wife and children in 2014, leaving around Tk200 crore loans taken out from four banks unpaid. He currently runs a petrol pump business in Australia.
Zahid Enterprise, a Chattogram-based business organisation that was once a distributor of Grameenphone, owes Tk186 crore to various banks. Mahbuba Akhter Zahid, director of the company and wife of the company's founder Zahid Hossain Miah, has migrated to Malaysia.
Baghdad Group started transport business on the Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox's Bazar route in 2013, but the service was shut down in 2018. As a result, around Tk150 crore of bank money borrowed by the company got stuck.
Ferdous Khan Alamgir, owner of the company, fled to Canada in February 2020 without repaying the loans.
Didarul Alam, proprietor of Iffat International based in Chattogram, fled to Canada in 2017, leaving around Tk100 crore taken out in loans from the two banks unpaid.
Chemical trader Anwarul Haque Chowdhury has been absconding in Malaysia with his family without paying back Tk71 crore loans taken out from two banks.
SM Shamim Iqbal, proprietor of NM Trading Corporation, borrowed Tk67 crore from three banks to do business in the export-oriented garment sector. He moved to Canada with his family in 2019 without paying back the bank money.
The owner of SL Enterprise migrated to London in 2012 without repaying Tk20 crore he had borrowed from various banks.
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