Tighter controls on trade-based money laundering (TBML) may be behind a decline in deposits made by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks according to a former government advisor.

Bangladeshi citizens in 2017 deposited funds in Swiss banks worth around US$485 million, whereas in 2016 the figure was around US$665 million according to data from the Swiss National Bank.

Misinvoicing and black market

Economist and former government advisor Mirza Azizul Islam says Bangladeshi deposits in Swiss bank accounts are due to two reasons.

One reason is that the proceeds of under- and over-invoicing financial crimes finish up in Swiss bank accounts.

The other is that black market currency dealers use banks in Switzerland where disclosure requirements are relatively light to deposit their profits.

Improved monitoring

A former governor of Bangladesh Bank, Salehuddin Ahmed, backs the claim that tighter anti-money laundering controls are responsible for the reduction in deposits.

He thinks that money laundering may actually be in decline due to the actions of various watchdogs and supervising agencies and the central bank.