Bangladesh: Money laundering probes yet to start against online gambling sites by CID

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The Cyber Police Centre of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Bangladesh has arrested three Bangladeshi nationals who were acting as agents for an online betting website called Betwinner owned by Cyprus-based Marikit Hollings Limited and managed from Russia.

These agents used to withdraw and convert the money deposited on their website to US Dollar through money exchange apps like Binance and then smuggle the same money to different countries through the same app. A total of around 4 crore taka have been smuggled by the three arrested.

Muhammad Rezaul Masud, superintendent of police at Cyber Police Center, said to Business Standard that the investigation for money laundering of the three arrested has not been started yet. He added, “We found preliminary evidence of money laundering against some of them during our investigation. We have forwarded our findings to the CID. However, no betting site has yet been charged under the Money Laundering Act.”

Online gambling is spreading rapidly since 2020 but the lack of probes and investigation are encouraging them to carry out their operations without any fear of getting caught.

The Cyber and Special Crime Wing of Detective Branch (DB) branch also arrested four people who worked as agents for Shillong Teer gamblign site during 2020, but they only recently filed a charge sheet against them under the Digital Security Act. These four were also collecting money from Dhaka and sending it to Sylhet’s Jaflong through mobile financial services and smuggling it to India.

The cyber crime department of the CID is also working on at least six different cases of online gambling which includes websites such as 1xbet, mostbet, betbuzz.365 and bet365ni. The officials also told The Business Standard that all these websites have been found laundering hundreds of crores of money through cryptocurrency.

Humayun Kabir, Special Superintendent of Police for CID’s Financial Crime Unit, said, “The Cyber Police Center cracked down on the gambling sites and they are investigating. They will also conduct the money laundering probe.”