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Money parked by Bangladeshi individuals and enterprises in Swiss banks hit a record high of 871.1 million Swiss francs (CHF) or about Tk8,265 crore in 2021 – a 55% rise from 562.9 million CHF a year ago.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) came up with the data in its annual banking statistics for 2021 on Thursday.

The growth rate of overall deposits from Bangladesh in Swiss banks was the highest among South Asian countries, followed by India.

Dr Saleh Uddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, said this sudden jump in the deposits is bad for Bangladesh's economy as it is losing its monetary backing.

"If the money had been kept in Bangladesh, we could have invested it in various sectors," he added.

South Asian Deposits in Swiss Bank

The former governor further said Bangladesh should seek information from the SNB on the deposits of Bangladeshis in Swiss banks.

He said, "The SNB will cooperate with us in this matter as the money laundering issue of Bangladesh is now globally known."

However, In a recent post-budget press conference, Fazle Kabir, current governor at the Bangladesh Bank, said 95% of the money that is reportedly laundered by Bangladeshis and deposited in Swiss banks is actually brought from other countries.

"We have not received any information that someone has deposited money in Swiss banks after smuggling it out of Bangladesh," he noted.

In terms of the deposited figure, Indian money in the banks was the highest among South Asian countries, with a 50% rise to 3,828.9 million CHF, while Bangladesh stood second, followed by Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Maldives and Bhutan.

With a 10% increase, deposits by Pakistani citizens stood at 705.95 million CHF.

According to the SNB statistics, its data of "total liabilities" of Swiss banks to Bangladeshis includes all types of funds, including deposits from individuals, banks and other enterprises.

Bangladeshi individuals deposited 26.3 million CHF in Swiss banks in 2021, a 18% decrease year-on-year, while the amount from banks increased 59% to 844.5 million CHF.

The report explained that the deposits as "liabilities" of Swiss banks are the official figures provided to the SNB by the Swiss banks. The figures do not indicate anything about the much-talked-about illicit money, if any, parked by Bangladeshis there.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka was able to bring the figure down by 58% to 56.01 million CHF, Afghanistan also by 58% to 21.16 million CHF and Nepal by 17% to 298 million CHF.

The lowest amount deposited was 0.34 million CHF in 2021, a 30% rise from the previous year, from Bhutan, followed by the Maldives at 3.32 million CHF.