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BB governor alerts mobile financial services against money laundering

DHAKA, Dec 19, 2016 (BSS) - Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir today alerted Mobile Financial Services (MFS) against money laundering, fearing these services could be used as biggest instruments for illegal or criminal transactions.

"It is not unlikely that mobile money may become one of the biggest laundering methodologies in this digital world that must confront with our joint initiatives," he told the inaugural session of a seminar on "Impact of Mobile Financial Services in the SAARC Region" at a hotel in the capital.

He added against the backdrop of rapid development of MFS in South Asian region appeared "crucial to identify measure and lessen potential risks associated with the mobile banking".

SAARC Finance Cell of Bangladesh Bank's research department staged the day-long seminar, also addressed by central bank's deputy governors SK Sur Chowdhury and Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan while former professor of Dhaka University's Finance Department Dr MA Baqui Khalily delivered the theme paper.

The central bank chief asked the MFS services to introduce upgraded technologies in compliance with the international standard to address "money laundering and terrorist financing risks".

In Bangladesh case, he said, the initial phase of making payment services through the MFS model to the hitherto excluded population segments is somewhat achieved.

"The next phase is to foster optimal utilization of MFS for cost efficient off branch delivery of a broader range of banking insurance and other financial services," he added.

Bangladesh Bank statistics suggests that 18 Bangladeshi banks currently provide MFS services with the help of local Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) while some 39 million registered MFS customers transact around Taka 7 billion every day.

Sur Chowdhury said cyber-security threats to financial transactions via digital platforms from illegal activities like money laundering and frauds must be protected through awareness among customers and service providers.

In Bangladesh, Razee Hassan said, mobile financial services proved helpful for the low income people who have less access to the formal financial system.

BB Economic Adviser M Akhtaruzzaman delivered the welcome speech in the seminar where delegates from the central banks of SAARC countries alongside Bangladesh Bank officials and Bangladeshi and multinational financial institutions and services joined the seminar.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)