April 12, 2022 19:08:33
A businessman misappropriated Tk 1.7 billion from investors using a fake advert in the name of a sham foreign company, according to Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
Zia Uddin Zaman, who was nabbed from Uttara on Monday, also took loans amounting to almost Tk 3.0 billion from different banks. Investigators suspect that he laundered the money overseas.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, RAB Spokesman Commander Khandaker Al Moin said Zia “resided in a luxurious home, wore Rolex watches and rode a Land Cruiser”.
“He lured people into investing in his Fosan Group [the fake company] by advertising different products to them, including tiles and sanitary items. The RAB received information that he swindled at least Tk 1.7 billion from them using this method.”
“He purchased [32.5] acres of land around the country with the money and also took out bank loans against the land he bought.”
The RAB received complaints from some of the victims of Zia’s scam. Zia would pose as a business magnate to lure unsuspecting investors, reports bdnews24.com.
“He has swindled over a billion taka from these people and later threatened those he owed money to.”
The law enforcers recovered 37 cheque books, six bottles of foreign liquor, counterfeit bank notes amounting to Tk 99,000 and $6,000 from Zia, a native of Bagerhat’s Morelganj.
They also seized the equipment he used to mislead people, including ‘Made in Japan’ stickers, five different ID cards and business cards and Tk 225,000 in cash. The RAB also confiscated a document that he was planning to use to acquire Tk 2.0 billion.
Zia represented himself as the owner, chairman and managing director of 12 different companies, while also promising interested people a stake in the businesses he claimed to have in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Oman and Dubai.
He began deceiving people in 2014 through television commercials of products from Fosan Ceramic Limited, which allowed him to steal money from people keen to become partners.
To prove the authenticity of his fake company and its website, Zia took other potential investors on tours in tidy factories overseas, claiming they belonged to him.
He used to pay people at those factories to act as though he owned them, according to RAB.
“After showing people around these factories, he would talk about setting up similar units in Bangladesh.”
This helped him rope in investors due to the high profits stemming from exports of Bangladeshi products.
“Claiming to be close friends of influential people in a Middle Eastern country, he also showed investors assets worth several hundred acres, which he actually leased for the sole purpose of his elaborate deception.”
Zia began learning about the tiles business in 2009 and also trafficked huge amounts of money for two “mafia” groups. That was his introduction to the trafficking circle.
Later in 2014, he continued doing it by showing higher expenses for the import of products through fake companies. Since 2016, he has smuggled Tk 500 million overseas.
Zia has 39 accounts in different banks in the country and three others in banks overseas.
He also has 60-70 more accounts under the names of his family members. Around 18-20 cases have been filed against him with the police.”