A Dhaka court on Wednesday framed charges against 25 Hall-Mark Group people including its Chairperson Jesmin Islam and Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud in two cases over loan scam and money laundering.Judge Kamrul Hossain Molla of the Senior Special Judge’s Court also set Mar 3 to start recording depositions of the witnesses.
Of the two cases, 19 persons have been made accused in one case, while 18 in the other. Jesmin and her husband Mahmud are accused in both the cases.
Anti Corruption Commission’s lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajal said they are accused in one of embezzling Tk 1.73 billion, which they as loan from Sonali Bank Limited. The other case is related to a loan of Tk 2.64 billion, he added.
“The court has ordered their trial on accusation of money laundering, transferring money illegally and changing the form of money illegally,” he further said. However, the accused pleaded not guilty during the hearing and urged for their release.
The corruption watchdog filed 11 cases, including these two, in October, 2012, after in initial investigation. The framing of charges in the nine other cases was also scheduled to start ion Wednesday, but the hearing was deferred as the defence moved the High Court challenging a section of the Money Laundering Prevention Act.
The court ordered the defence to submit a High Court order on Mar 3. The court also indicted Hall-Mark Chairperson Islam in another case over concealing wealth information. The next hearing of this case is Mar 3. The ACC submitted the charge sheets of 11 cases against Jesmin, Tanvir and 23 others in October, 2013.
According to the charge sheets, the Hall-Mark officials embezzled over Tk 26.86 billion from Ruposhi Bangla branch of the Sonali Bank with the help of the officials of the bank. Several Sonali Bank officials have been made accused in the cases.