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Controversy strikes BPL, allegations of money laundering among franchises

Payments to Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakara, and other foreign players under microscope for allegations of money laundering in BPL.

Bangladesh Premier League, 2015 logo

The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), which has just ended its third season is under the scanner for a supposed rule violation.

There is a rule that requires the Bangladesh Bank’s permission to pay foreign players in the Bangladesh premier League (BPL).  A bank official said that a team paying their foreign players in a foreign currency is considered to be laundering money.

The 65 foreign players that starred in the BPL 2015, including Kumar Sangakara and Chris Gayle, had contracts between $30,000 and $70,000. The teams were formed on October 2015 by a lottery based system. The franchises have allegedly made contracts with more players and paid amounts to them that have not been disclosed.  

Subhankar Saha, the executive director of the Bangladesh Bank said that only one team had sought their permission to pay nine of their foreign players in foreign currencies until December 15.  An official from The Foreign Exchange Operation Department of the bank said that the bank had given Barisal Bulls franchise the permission to pay a sum of $225,000 to their foreign players on the recommendations of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

Saha made it clear that a franchise paying their players in foreign currencies would be considered to be laundering money and could be booked under the Money Laundering Act. However, he added that if a franchise appeared the next day before the bank seeking permission to pay their players in foreign currency and they got it, they won’t come under the Money Laundering Act.

According to the payment rules outlined, a player is supposed to be paid half his fees before the start of the tournament, 25 percent during the tournament and the rest within one month of the end of the tournament.

BCB president, Nazmul Hassan said that Comilla Victorians and Chittagong Vikings had already made full payments to their players by December 20. Rangpur Riders too had paid their foreign players in full and the local players 75 percent of their fees by then.

“All the franchises know the rules of paying the foreign players. The method of payment is also included in the contracts. Payments are supposed to be made through proper channels and I hope that has been done,” BCB director, Jalal Yunus said in a press conference.

A Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) issued by the NBR (National Board of Revenue) specified that a foreign player accepting payments in a foreign currency would have to pay a 30 percent tax and a Bangladeshi organisation or individual making those payments are liable to pay 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT).

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