[chottala.com] Memory Lane : Koko's corruption on FBI website
Koko's corruption on FBI website
Sun, 26/06/2011 - 12:15am | by priyodesk
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had put up the corruption story of BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia's youngest son Arafat Rahman Koko on its website much before the Bangladesh court sentenced him for six years in jail on Thursday for laundering Taka 20 crore to Singapore.
The US conducted massive investigation into the bribery through federal agencies and recover the money because those were paid in US dollars involving American intermediary banks and it went in line with US's 2006 policies to 'internationalize efforts against kleptocracy' to fight high-level corruption around the world.The FBI in its link http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/press-releases/2009/wfo010909.htm put the detail story of the bribery as the US Department of Justice sought to recover approximately three million dollars from the foreign bribe payments deposited to Koko's joint account in Singapore.
According to the website, the justice department filed a forfeiture action against Koko's accounts worth nearly three million dollars that are alleged to be the proceeds of a wide-ranging conspiracy to favour two foreign companies to achieve deals and earn commissions from two separate public sector projects.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced that the forfeiture action was filed on January 8, 2009, in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia against funds located in Singapore held by Koko and his multiple bank accounts.
FBI said the forfeiture complaint relates primarily to bribes paid to Arafat Rahman "Koko", the son of the former Bangladesh prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, in connection with projects awarded to German Siemens AG and China Harbor Engineering Company.
According to the complaint, the majority of funds in Koko's account were traceable to bribes allegedly received in connection with the China Harbor project, which was a project to build New Mooring container terminal at Chittagong port.
"This action shows the lengths to which U.S. law enforcement will go to recover the proceeds of foreign corruption, including acts of bribery and money laundering," said Matthew Friedrich in 2009.
"Not only will the Department, for example, prosecute companies and executives who violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, we will also use our forfeiture laws to recapture the illicit facilitating payments often used in such schemes," Mathew vowed.
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft (Siemens AG) and three of its subsidiaries pleaded guilty on December 15, 2009, to violations of and charges related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Specifically, Siemens Bangladesh admitted that from May 2001 to August 2006, it caused corrupt payments of at least 5,319,839 Dollars to be made through purported business consultants to various Bangladeshi officials in exchange for favorable treatment during the bidding process on a mobile telephone project. At least one payment to each of these purported consultants was paid from a U.S. bank account.
According to the forfeiture complaint, the bribe payments from Siemens AG and China Harbor Engineering Company were made in U.S. dollars, and the illicit funds flowed through financial institutions in the United States before they were deposited in Koko and his partner's accounts in Singapore, thereby subjecting them to U.S. jurisdiction.
The Bangladesh anti corruption commission (ACC) filed case against Koko on March 17, 2009, pinpointing his involvement in bribery from two government projects- building a new container terminal and establishing a state owned mobile phone company.
The anti corruption watchdog said the money were siphoned off to Koko's Singapore account. Before the FBI website uploading of the Koko's corruption story a World Bank-UNODC publication also mentioned the alleged embezzlement of three million dollars by BNP chief Khaleda Zia's younger son as an example of stealing national assets.
Titled "Asset Recovery Handbook," the publication was released two days ago in Vienna and obtained by BSS. It was prepared under the Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative of the WB in association with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The 270-page book cited Arafat Rahman Koko's case on page 53 and page 196 while discussing the issues relating to prosecution of accounting and establishing jurisdiction for legal proceedings.
Koko is now a fugitive and been reportedly living in Malaysia, where he moved from Thailand, a place he was allowed to stay and seek treatment for his ill health. He was arrested on September 2, 2007 and was released on parole for treatment in Bangkok on July 17, 2008. His parole expired on August 19, 2010 and was asked to return home immediately.
Dec 19, 2008 – "The transactions (made by Koko) are under inquiry and the enquiry officer has been appointed," ACC director general (admin) Col Hanif Iqbal ...
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