Sonali Bank is the largest bank in Bangladesh and many of its employees have engaged in money laundering. The UK is lucky enough to play host to one of the bank’s subsidiaries, Sonali Bank UK, with branches in Manchester, Birmingham and Tower Hamlets, a borough in East London.
And on this fine Tuesday morning, beneath the balmy December sun, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that it was going to be fining Mohammad Ataur Rahman Prodhan, the former CEO of Sonali Bank UK, £76,400 ($97,900) for failing to adequately oversee the company’s anti-money laundering functions.
“Mr Prodhan,” said the FCA, “failed to take reasonable steps to assess and mitigate the AML risks arising from a culture of non-compliance among SBUK’s staff. The FCA considers that he failed to ensure that sufficient focus was given to AML systems and controls within SBUK or that there was a clear allocation of responsibilities to oversee SBUK’s branches, and that he failed to appropriately oversee, manage and adequately resource SBUK’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer function.”
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Still a government employee: from Sonali Bank to Rupali Bank
Now all of this sounds definitive when, it should be noted, Prodhan may not actually be fined. The former CEO is referring the decision it to the FCA’s Upper Tribunal – an independent court. Both Prodhan and the regulator will be allowed to present their case and the tribunal will decide whether any action should be taken at all.
Surprisingly, Prodhan’s actions at Sonali Bank UK haven’t had much of a dent on his career – at least in Bangladesh. After leaving the bank’s UK headquarters, he departed from the bring-your-own-booze curry houses of Brick Lane and headed back to Bangladesh.
Since 2016, he has been the CEO of Rupali Bank – another Bengali bank which, like Sonali Bank, is owned by the government. Alongside this, he is a Director at Summit Bank – a Pakistani bank.