The news item appeared in some print and electronic media on 17 & 18 July, 2012 implicating Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited with HSBC has drawn our attention. As the news may confuse millions of Bank’s stakeholders and people in general, we consider it appropriate to clarify our position as follows :
The report of US Senate sub-committee investigating HSBCs involvement in transferring of illegal money into US economy from drug business of Mexico contains no allegation against Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited’s link with any terrorists financing or illegal transaction. Besides, no transaction of Islami Bank through its correspondent banks including that of Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has ever been termed as suspicious. Mentionable that all foreign transactions of Islami Bank like other banks are related to export, import and NRB remittance; all of which are transparent and each and every such transactions are subject to report to Bangladesh Bank as usual.
Reporting Al-Rajhi Bank as sponsor of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited is not based on facts. Al-Rajhi Bank is neither a sponsor nor a shareholder of Islami Bank. Institutions and individuals named Al Rajhi Company for Industries and Trade, Arabsas Travels and Tourist Agency, Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi and Yousif Abdullah Al Rajhi of Al Rajhi group, KSA holds 27.51 percent share of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited. Yousif Abdullah Al Rajhi, Vice Chairman of Islami Bank is not a shareholder of Al Rajhi Bank. In Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. all decisions of the Board of Directors are taken on consensus basis. No director can personally influence any decision of the Board.
The allegation that Islami Bank has financed terrorists is totally untrue. Bangladesh Bank and other regulatory bodies often monitor activities of schedule Banks and did not find any evidence to substantiate such allegation against IBBL so far. There have never been any account with Islami Bank in the name of JMB Chief Shaekh Abdur Rahman or Siddiqur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai. The information that Bangladesh Bank fined IBBL for involvement in terror financing is not true as well. Bangladesh Bank imposed penalty on Islami Bank along with some other banks for delay in reporting suspicious transactions in 2006. The issue got settled long before.
IBBL started its operations as a public limited company and a scheduled Commercial Bank in 1983 with 70 percent foreign share holding including IDB; Al-Rajhi Company for Currency Exchange and Commerce; Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Kuwait; Kuwait Finance House; Bahrain Islamic Bank; Jordan Islamic Bank; Islamic Investment and Exchange Corporation, Qatar; Islamic Banking System International Holding S.A. Luxembourg; Dubai Islamic Bank; the Public Institution for Social Security, Kwuait; Ministry of Justice and Department of Minor Affairs, Kuwait etc. and some internationally renowned personalities, institutions. IBBL also had 5 percent shareholding of the Govt. of Bangladesh since its inception.
We would like to make it categorically clear that Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited has never financed any individual or institution involved with terror activities and hence the issue is totally misleading. The bank is a nationally and internationally recognized commercial bank. The question of involvement in anti-islamic, heinous, anti-nation, inhuman, immoral activities on the part of a welfare oriented, law abiding financial institution like Islami Bank doesn’t arise at all.
The Books of Accounts and Annual Report of Islami Bank are fully transparent and open to all. Regulatory authorities including Bangladesh Bank periodically conduct audits and inspections on the Bank like other banks. Islami Bank has received awards and appreciations both from national and international bodies for its transparency, accountability and contribution. IBBL is the best rated Bank in the country. IBBL is considered as a model of Islami Banking by international organizations like IDB. New York based internationally reputed financial magazine ”The Global Finance” awarded IBBL as the best bank, financial institution and Islamic financial institution for six times. Besides, IBBL has also adjudged as the joint winner for Corporate Governance Disclosure Award 2010 by the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA). In addition the SAFA awarded IBBL with certificate of appreciation for its Best Published Annual Report 2010.
We like to re-affirm that everyone will appreciate the transparency and welfare-oriented activities of IBBL, its contributions towards nation-building activities having adjudged on the basis of facts and figures. Islami Bank is such a leading banking institution with which millions of people of the country are directly or indirectly associated. Publishing such confusing news in the media on a leading bank like IBBL is undesirable and unbecoming. We earnestly request all concerned to refrain from publishing such news.