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Online gambling: crores diverted from the country

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An international gaming racket siphons millions of taka from the country every day by laundering and investing in cryptocurrencies.

The racketeers’ local network mainly depends on mobile banking services for their transactions.

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Law enforcement has detected more than 2,300 active agent accounts on online gambling sites. Officials believe the individuals behind the accounts are illegally sending up to Tk 50 crore overseas per day. They send money by laundering and buying cryptocurrencies.

Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange regulations make cryptocurrencies illegal in Bangladesh.

Officers from the Terrorism and Transnational Crime Police Unit (CTTC) said they “obtained details of the union by interviewing a man who had four agent accounts on online gambling sites.”

The man named Md Mohiuddin Parvez, 27, was arrested in the capital’s Badda neighborhood on June 14, CTTC Additional Deputy Commissioner Tohidul Islam said.

CTTC agents seized six laptops and five cell phones from him.

Parvez, an electrical and electronic engineering graduate, has managed all four agent accounts in the past seven months. He only had a small room rented for his office in the capital’s Badda neighborhood, Tohidul said.

But his daily earnings could reach 1.5 lakh Tk, the officer said: “In four agent accounts, Parvez was transacting up to 50 lakh Tk per day. On June 14, just before he was arrested, Parvez deposited approximately Tk 82 lakh in various bank accounts across the country. “

Each of its six employees was paid 30,000 Tk per month.

Parvez made a confession in a court in Dhaka yesterday after his three-day pre-trial detention ended.

“We have the details of over a dozen people with gambling agent accounts. They are under our supervision. Through those 2,300 gambling agent accounts, at least 50 crore de Tk could be siphoned from the country in a day, ”Tohidul added.

Officers identified two individuals from Russia and Cyprus as the ringleaders, he said.

“We would ask for Interpol’s support to find them,” he said.

Parvez told investigators he had communications with someone named Michel Victor. Parvez asked him for an agent account for the online gambling site 1xbet.

Victor then asked Parvez for his personal details. Once he provided it, someone named Tom contacted him and asked him to deposit $ 5,000 into the bank accounts of a Bangladeshi fashion house and an IT company, said investigators.

“Once Parvez deposited the money, he had his agent account,” Tohidul said.

The money was returned to the agent in the form of cryptocurrency, he said.

“We have several fashion houses and IT companies on our list. We are investigating their connection to the game connection.”

Besides 1xBet, Melbet and Linebet are also popular gambling sites in Bangladesh. The sites are maintained from Russia.

Parvez told investigators agents like him mainly receive money from local gamers through Bkash and other mobile banking services.

People like Parvez manage multiple agent accounts with mobile banking, also known as MFS. Once a player deposits money through MFS, the agent launches the money out of the country.