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Bangladesh Customs, CAAB trace gold smuggling rackets

Bangladesh Customs, CAAB trace gold smuggling rackets

DHAKA: Officials and staff of customs and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) have found links of around a dozen money exchangers and several customs and airport officials with the gold smuggling rackets active in Bangladesh.

“We’ve so far found names of 10 to 12 Paltan and Uttara-based money changers who invest in the smuggling and get a good commission,” said an investigator, adding that many jewelers in Chittagong and Dhaka are also suspected to be involved in the smuggling rings.

A money exchange trader named Mamun Al Azad Suman, who was arrested two and a half years ago and now is staying in Dubai after jumping bail, buys gold and sends it to Bangladesh through carriers. The customs officials at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport then help the carriers get out of the airport and the gold eventually gets smuggled to India, he said.

A list of at least 50 officials and staff of customs and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has been prepared based on intelligence reports and on information from those arrested for gold smuggling on different occasions, he said.

The arrestees include Biman officials Captain Abu Mohammad Aslam Shaheed, Emdad Hossain, and Tozammel Hossain; Mahmudul Haque Palash, a smuggling racket coordinator; and Md Harunur Rashid, owner of a money exchange firm.

“Sometimes they catch a carrier with a little amount of gold. When everybody becomes busy with that haul, the Customs and CAAB people sneak the carriers with large amount of gold out of the airport,” the DB official told The Daily Star.

Then with the help of influential political leaders in border areas – Jessore and Satkhira in particular, the gold is smuggled to India, he added.