Organized crime and money laundering undoubtedly pose a serious threat to the rule of law and the country’s sustainable development, a court in Dhaka observed on Monday.
Judge Md Iqbal Hossain of the Dhaka Metropolitan Special Judges’ Court-5 made the observations while delivering the verdict in a money laundering case linked to the country’s first casino scam.
Judge Iqbal Hossain sentenced 11 people, including Enamul Haque Enu, expelled vice-president of the Awami League’s Gandaria unit, and his brother Rupon Bhuiyan, deputy general secretary of the same unit, to seven years in prison each.
The court also fined them Tk 4 crore each for their involvement in illegal casino business.
Enu, Rupon and five others were present in court during the verdict.
“Money laundering is a serious offence. The recent growth of casino gambling, in essence, has appeared as a back door for organized crime to launder their dirty money into the financial system,” the court told the court. era.
The court said: “Illegal gambling operations are particularly serious because money earned from illegal gambling is used to fund other activities including money laundering, extortion and fraud.”
If money laundering offenses go unchecked, money laundering can destabilize the country’s financial system and undermine development efforts in emerging markets, the court observed.
It undermines the social fabric and collective ethical standards, the court said.
“Therefore, the state requires that an appropriate sentence be able to prevent the accused persons from committing the offense of money laundering,” the judge said.
The other nine convicts are – Shahidul Haque Bhuiyan, Rashidul Haque Bhuiyan, Merajul Haque Bhuiyan, Joy Gopal Sarkar, Pavel Rahman, Tuhin Munshi, Abul Kalam Azad, Nabir Hossain Sikder and Saiful Islam.
Among the convicts, Shiplu, Rashidul, Shahidul and Pavel fled while Tuhin is out on bail. The other six are in prison.
On March 16, the court set April 6 to render the verdict in the case after closing the closing arguments for the prosecution and the defense. However, the date was later rescheduled.
Enu, Rupon and their associate Sunny were arrested at Keraniganj in Dhaka on January 13, 2020. They were planning to flee to Nepal via India using fake passports.
According to law enforcement, the brothers used to bring casino materials from Nepal and supply them to buyers here across the country.
They owned a total of 22 buildings, land and 128 apartments in the capital and had huge sums of money in various bank accounts.
On July 26, 2020, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police Inspector Sadek Ali, also the Investigator (IO) of the case, filed the indictment against the accused.
The court filed charges against them on May 5, 2021. A total of 10 prosecution witnesses, including the plaintiff in the case, testified in court.
Several other cases have also been filed against Enu and Rupon for amassing illegal wealth and laundering money with different police stations in the capital.