Banks in Bangladesh should develop their own databases to prevent billions of dollars from being siphoned out of the country in trade-based money laundering (TBML) operations, a recently published study has recommended.

The study, Addressing Trade-based Money Laundering in Bangladesh: An Assessment, also recommends that banks should share information on their respective databases and not wait for the central bank to set up systems for countering TBML.

BIBM workshop

The findings of the study were recently shared at a workshop organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) in Dhaka.

According to BIBM’s Professor Barkat-e-Khuda, Bangladesh does not have adequate technologies and a sufficiently skilled workforce to prevent money laundering, but he believes the efficiency of bankers could be improved to curb laundering.

Data sharing

The professor recommended that every bank should develop its own database rather than wait for the central bank to issue instructions. The databases of all banks should then be interlinked, he added.

Washington-based Global Financial Integrity in January said in its latest report on illicit financial flows to and from developing countries that US$5.9 billion was siphoned out of Bangladesh in 2015 just through trade mis-invoicing.