September 27, 2022, 5:58 pm

Staff Correspondent

2021-11-14 06:00:29 BdST

Money launderingCID calls Daraz COO for grilling

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has called Khondoker Tasfin Alam – Chief Operating Officer of Daraz Bangladesh – for questioning, over allegations that the platform is laundering money through the sale of unauthorised digital products from foreign companies.

The CID’s Financial Crime Unit recently sent a letter to the Daraz COO in this regard, asking him to visit the law enforcement agency’s office in Dhaka on November 17.

Humayun Kabir, special superintendent of police at the unit, told the media, “CID’s investigating officer has written to a top official at Daraz, asking him to visit our office, and provide information regarding the purchase and sale of digital cards from foreign companies.

“We will get a better idea about the matter after we speak to him.”

Daraz has been facing accusations of laundering a large sum of money from Bangladesh for some time, through the sale of e-gift cards to unassuming customers. These cards allow subscriptions to various digital services, such as movie streaming, and boosting content in YouTube and Facebook.

DarazMall, a flagship store of Daraz e, sells gift cards from Google Play Store, ITunes, Steam and many others. The company also allows sale of paid campaigns on Facebook.

Daraz – one of the largest e-commerce platforms in Bangladesh – accepts payment from local customers through mobile financial services (MFS) such as bKash, Nagad and Rocket for the sale of unauthorised digital products, and allegedly pays foreign companies and service providers through illegal channels.

A significant number of people have purchased these products from Daraz’s platform.

“Laundering money through digital transactions is easy, it is a kind of like hundi,” said Humayun Kabir, adding, “We are aware of the online virtual card businesses that are laundering money. Our team is working on the matter.”

Hundi is an illegal money transfer system that deprives the government of tax.

Daraz’s terms and conditions say customers must be over 13 years of age and be US residents to avail digital card services. But anyone from Bangladesh can buy these gift cards by paying through mobile financial services in local currencies.

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