HALLMARK SCAM: Tk 1,492 crore embezzled in a day

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The kingpin of the country’s biggest banking scam, Hallmark Group, has embezzled around Tk 1,492 crore from Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch of Sonali Bank by creating 804 letters of credit in a single day, according to Anti-Corruption Commission probe findings.
The commission investigators said that the Hallmark Group in liaison with bank officials opened 2.3 LCs a minute, as usually it needs minimum 1.3 to 2 hours for creating a new LC.
They said that the probe team found that it was a lone example in the country’s history that so many LCs were opened in a day.
The officials said they collected a bank’s total LC opened in all branches statistic for a day but have no instance of such record of 804 LCs opened in a single day.
The officials said that the team found that the Hallmark Group opened 804 LCs on December 29, 2011 worth Tk 1,492,15,25,477.80 while the Group embezzled Tk 1,568.39 crore creating LCs out of total swindled money of about Tk 2,686 crore from 2010 to 2012.
The commission also found that the Sonali Bank Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch on March 29, 2012 accepted Tk 450.34 crore Inland Bill Purchase from Hallmark Group while the Bank’s head office issued an order on February 29, 2012 to all its branches as if any branch manager are deputy general manager he/she will allow maximum Tk 30 crore IBP and if he /she are assistant general manager maximum Tk 10 crore IBP in a year.
But the then branch manager AKM Azizur Rahman, who also was a deputy general manager, gave acceptance of Tk 450.34 crore’s IBP to the Hallmark Group violating the rules, ACC said.
The Hallmark Group sister concern Max Spinning Mills and Anwar Spinning took the acceptance from the Bank while the companies were already defaulters of around Tk 150 crore loan, ACC findings said.
The commission on October 07, 2013 submitted charge sheets in 11 cases against 25 people including AKM Azizur Rahman over the Hallmark-Sonali Bank scam to a magistrate’s court in Dhaka.
A seven-member investigation team of the commission headed by its deputy director Mir Joynul Abdin Shibly submitted the charge sheets.
The commission on September 16 approved the 11 charge sheets against the 25 people for embezzlement of Tk 1,568.39 crore from Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch by the Hallmark Group.
On October 4, 2012, the commission filed 11 cases against seven executives of Hallmark Group and 20 officials of Sonali Bank.
Six officials of the commission filed the cases with the Ramna police for their alleged involvement in swindling over Tk 1,568.39 crore out of about Tk 2,686 crore embezzled from the Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch.

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