Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dawood funds: Bank of Baroda’s Bahamas branch denies involvement

Bank of Baroda has clarified that the Dubai Exchange account it maintains is KYC (know-your-client) compliant, in response to a report on a TV channel that its branch in the offshore banking haven of Nassau was used for laundering cash transactions of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. 

"It is clarified that Bank of Baroda Nassau has been maintaining among others, the account of Dubai Exchange for last several years," said a statement signed by bank's chairman and managing director S S Mundra. "It is a KYC-compliant account where transactions take place in normal course of business to established banking channels, according to the bank." 

"All AML (anti-money laundering) guidelines are followed. Hence we deny any involvement of Bank of Baroda in alleged transfer of funds as reported in the Media," said the release. 

According to the report telecast by the news channel, cash from Afghanistan-Pakistan based terror groups, being handled by Dawood, has been traced to the Bahamas and is lying at the Nassau branch of Bank of Baroda. The news channel has sourced the information to highly placed government sources. 

It said that Bank of Baroda's Nassau branch saw successive wire transfers of several hundred thousand dollars from at least three Dubai-based currency exchanges — the al-Zarouni Exchange, the Dubai Exchange and the al-Dirham Exchange — suspected to be proceeds from organised crime. 

"We further clarify that Bank of Baroda Nassau Operations are conducted strictly within the regulatory framework of host/home country and are subject to usual systemic controls," it said. Nassau, located in the central American island of Bahamas, is well known as a tax haven.

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