The media have made exaggerated claims about a sharp rise of Swiss bank deposits by Bangladeshis, Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said.
The figure rose 20 percent year-on-year in 2016, according to the data recently released by the Swiss National Bank.
Several news outlets claimed that more money were being smuggled out of the country, while BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia accused the ruling Awami League figures of supporting attempts to hide black money in the tax haven.
"The issue of money laundering is not like that in reality. The figure is for transaction and wealth. The laundered figure is actually quite small," Muhith told parliament on Tuesday.
"The news media did leading stories on money laundering. The reports even said Swiss deposits rose over $698 million because of money laundered by Bangladeshis. The figure in 2015 was $582.43 million.
"I will not say that money isn't laundered out of Bangladesh. But the amount presented by the media is truly exaggerated," said Muhith.
"The state makes transactions through many banks. We have enough businesses and transactions with Switzerland.
"Swiss banking is very developed, therefore our trade transactions with countries around it are done through Swiss banks."
The Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit have submitted to the finance ministry their investigation and analysis of the data released by Swiss National Bank, he said.
"We've looked through the numbers from 2013-14, 2015 and 2016 and found that many transactions were done with Switzerland because of our businesses."
Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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