Will our Foreign Ministry summon the Swiss Ambassador?
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed/Editor in Charge of Daily Our Time :
Switzerland Ambassador to Bangladesh NathalieChuardstated the Bangladesh government did not ask for any specific information on the Swiss bank accounts of its citizens.She made this remark on 10 August 2022 at an event hosted by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association in Bangladesh. “Switzerland had provided the government with all available information on how to reach an agreement on these matters. However, no request for specific funds has been submitted”, she added.
Following this, the High Court ordered the government to explain why it had not sought information on funds deposited in Swiss banks by Bangladeshis on 11th of August 2022.
In this regard, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has recently been reported to have said that AmbassadorChuard’s claim that the government did not request any specific information on its citizens’ Swiss bank accounts is false. Bangladesh FM also indicated that, “Bangladesh Bank Governor AbdurRoufTalukder and Finance Secretary Fatima Yasminhave been contacted and they (Bangladesh Bank and Finance Ministry) claimed that they had requested information earlier but Swiss banks had not responded”, reports Australian News Net.
Bangladesh secured its membership in the Egmont group, a global body of 131 member nations to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism, and other financial crimes in July 2013. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) wrote to Swiss authorities seeking information about 67 individuals and organizations, who have accounts in Swiss banks; through Egmont Security Web (ESW) until July 2022 since the date of its membership with Egmont group, said sources at Bangladesh Bank. Switzerland Financial Intelligence Unit could provide information about only one (1) individual out of sixty-seven (67) individuals and organizations and the same has been forwarded to the information to law enforcement, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and other agency investigators, according to the same sources. The same has been reaffirmed by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, several media reports suggest.
It is important to note that the Swiss National Bank published its annual report on 16 June 2022. After this annual report was published, Bangladesh again requested Swiss authorities on 17 June 2022through ESW to provide information about Bangladeshi individuals and banks who deposited money in different Swiss banks. However, no information has been providedyet, said sources at BIFU.
In July 2022, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Latvia hosted the 28th Egmont Group (EG) Plenary, the first in-person plenary since 2019.In this plenary, the BFIU team discussed the abovementioned issues with the chief of the Switzerland Financial Intelligence Unit team, and they advised Bangladesh to resend its request letter seeking information on Bangladeshi individuals and banks who deposited money in different Swiss banks.
Once China “summoned” U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman over President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Ireland and Britain “summoned” their respective Israeli ambassadors due to the revelation that Israel might have forged their countries’ passports for its agents to travel to Dubai to assassinate a leader of Hamas. Generally, foreign ministries conduct diplomatic business through their bureaucracies.
To resolve this disagreement in question, Bangladesh may invite representatives from Switzerland embassy to meet with diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a practice, for big public disputes, a foreign ministry publicly summons another country’s ambassador to inform about its displeasure. Now the question lies, will our Foreign Ministry summon the Swiss Ambassador for this?