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    Fugitive Bangladeshi Army colonel is INTERPOL’s top priority

    INTERPOL may begin an investigation into the allegations of money laundering and financial crimes committed by convicted fugitive Shahid Uddin Khan, who has been on run since 2018. The international police organization has recently launched a Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Center (IFCACC) in order to fight the exponential growth in sophisticated transnational financial crime.

    According to information, following the publication of a number of reports in BLiTZ and the British newspaper the Politicalite, IFCACC is supposed to begin an investigation into the case of Shahid Uddin Khan and members of his family. Meanwhile, a number of leading newspapers in Britain also are currently running investigations into the case of Shahid Uddin Khan. Talking to this correspondent, a senior reporter with UK’s popular daily said, they already have gathered substantial information on Khan and would publish a series of investigative reports on this matter. The reporter further said, authorities concerned in Britain are also being contacted by the newspaper for updates on the matter of extraditing Shahid Uddin Khan.

    Back in 2019, the prestigious British newspaper The Sunday Times published an investigative report on the illegal activities of Shahid Uddin Khan.

    Influential Indian newspaper The Organiser, an official mouthpiece of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) political ally of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also exposed the illegal activities of this convicted fugitive.

    INTERPOL issued a ‘Red Notice’ on Shahid Uddin Khan in 2018.

    Meanwhile, seeking anonymity, a former official of the National Crime Agency (NCA) said, “to expedite the process of IFCACC’s investigation into the case of Shahid Uddin Khan, Bangladesh authorities may also send an official letter giving details of financial crimes committed by this man”.

    The IFCACC is intended to prevent financial criminals from “undermining global financial systems, impeding economic growth and causing huge losses to businesses and individuals worldwide,” the world police body said in a statement.

    The new crime center will expand and streamline the existing initiatives in tackling financial crimes, illicit money flows and asset recovery by “centralizing the international response to transnational financial crime and corruption,” INTERPOL Secretary General, Jürgen Stock, said.

    The Lyon-based organization cited a 2020 survey, which studied businesses in 99 territories, and showed that “nearly half of all respondents had reportedly fallen victim to financial crime in the previous two years, with losses totaling US$42 billion”.

    According to the report, fraud is the most common type of criminality in some nations, while corruption adds to the complexity of the crime environment, offering a fertile ground for organized criminal operations.

    “The two crime types are inextricably linked, with both often relying on similar mechanisms to move and launder illicit funds, increasingly involving transnational organized crime groups,” INTERPOL said.

    The organization also mentioned its recent assessment, according to which INTERPOL’s 194 member countries cited financial crime and corruption as the top three threats they currently face.

    In addition, the COVID-19 global pandemic “has demonstrated the speed with which criminal groups can modify their methods to take advantage of new opportunities for defrauding individuals and companies, with millions of dollars stolen every day,” according to Stock.

    IFCACC will therefore collaborate closely with key stakeholders — the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs), the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, law enforcement agencies, police organizations and the financial sector — to boost joint efforts against financial crime and corruption.

    “By providing investigative, operational and analytical support, as well as capacity building, IFCACC will target fraud and payment crime, money laundering and asset recovery, and corruption,” according to INTERPOL.

    The statement also said that the new center will coordinate activities aimed at combating cyber-enabled financial crime, but also operations and capacity-building activities directed against telecom fraud and other sorts of social engineering schemes, money laundering, and sports corruption.

    IFCACC will also assist other INTERPOL programs dealing with corruption, human trafficking or environmental crime, and will also lead the Organization’s efforts to provide operational support against money laundering associated with virtual assets.

    “Whether it’s corruption or financial crime, the criminal business model remains the same: bad actors, motivated by money and operating on a global level,” Acting Director of IFCACC, Rory Corcoran, said.

    “Now, with this dedicated center, we will be able to help police follow that money better than ever before, intercepting illicit funds before they disappear and arresting perpetrators, whether they’re hiding behind a screen or a public office,” he concluded.

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