RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, India

Tycoon arrested over Bangladesh's largest bank scam

A textile tycoon has been arrested over allegations of involvement in Bangladesh's largest banking scam ever.

Tanvir Mahmud, managing director of Hallmark Group, his wife, five Hallmark executives and 20 staff at Sonali Bank, the country’s largest state-owned lender, have been charged by the ACC with embezzling $192 million between 2010 and May this year.

The central bank has also accused Hallmark of stealing another $120 million from the same Sonali branch.

Officers arrested  Mahmud and his brother-in-law, a group general manager, at a house in the capital Dhaka, police spokesman Abhishek Ahmed said. 

“We made several raids to arrest Mahmud since Saturday night following a request from the Anti-Corruption Commission. We found him on Sunday night,” Ahmed said.

The ACC has described the case as “the biggest banking plunder in the country’s history”.

The allegations are the latest in a series of scandals in Bangladesh after a dramatic stock market crash in 2010-11 and a major pyramid scheme collapse.

Sonali Bank, which has some 1,200 branches across the country, has already suspended 20 officials including two senior executives for their alleged role in the embezzlement.

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