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Bangladesh widens net for laundered billions as forex reserves fall

Government tries mix of sticks and carrots as experts warn of low success rate

DHAKA -- Bangladesh is stepping up a campaign to rein in money laundering and recover funds siphoned out of the country as it scrambles to reverse the decline of its foreign exchange reserves.

The forex coffers were forecast to drop to $37 billion in early September, from $48 billion in July 2021, raising the specter of a potential crunch akin to the crises seen in South Asian neighbors Sri Lanka and Pakistan. An economy-sapping combination of inflationary pressure from the Ukraine war, stagnant exports, rising imports and falling remittance inflows has focused renewed attention on the staggering sums of money that go missing every year.

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