Bangladesh is among the top forty countries around the world in terms of the risk for money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF), according to an annual report by non-profit Swiss foundation Basel Institute on Governance.
The country has moved seven notches down from its last year's position to rank the 38th among 141 countries on the Basel Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Index 2020 (9th edition).
Sadly, the country fell 44 notches from its position in 2017. The country ranked the 45th last year and 82nd in 2017.
Here, lower rank indicates a higher risk for money laundering.
Bangladesh's money laundering risk score is higher than the global average risk score of 5.22 this year.
The country achieved a 5.88 risk score in the 9th edition of the index while the country scored 5.80 in the previous edition.
Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), told The Business Standard that he cannot believe the report that says money laundering risk has increased in Bangladesh.
He said, "Over the last two years, Bangladesh has taken several initiatives to prevent money laundering activities. Therefore, there is no chance of deteriorating the position."
He, however, said he had not seen the report as yet.
To describe the position on the index, Imtiaz Ahmed, deputy inspector general (Organised Crime) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police, said, "The Money Laundering Prevention Rule was issued only a year ago, as a result its impact is yet to be evident."
The report assessed risk scores ranged from 0 to 10 based on 16 indicators under five domains - Quality of AML / CFT Framework, Corruption Risk, Financial Transparency and Standards, Public Transparency and Accountability, Legal and Political Risks. Where 0 indicates the lowest risk and 10 indicates the highest risk.
The index's primary objective is to focus the situation of how much risk a country is in towards money laundering and terrorist financing.
Highest risk in South Asia
The South Asian region achieved the highest overall risk score. In every domain the region's average score exceeded the world average. However, Quality of AML/CFT frameworks was the weakest area.
Afghanistan is at the highest risk of money laundering and terrorist financing globally as well as regionally.
Among the south Asian countries, India is at the lowest risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, followed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
However, the report mentioned Afghanistan, India and Pakistan were listed by the US as major money laundering jurisdictions.
Additionally, South Asia is also at high risk of human trafficking.
Global money laundering risks remain high
The report highlighted that only six countries have improved their risk scores by more than one point while 35 countries went backwards.
Afghanistan, Haiti, Myanmar, Laos, and Mozambique are the top five countries with the highest AML risk score while the three lowest risk countries are Estonia, Andorra and Finland, followed by Bulgaria and Cook Islands.