Human chain formed to protest ringID agent harassment

TBS Report

February 03, 2022, 11:40 a.m.

Last modification: February 03, 2022, 11:44 a.m.

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Photo: TBS

Agents and users of the controversial ringID online platform formed a human chain in the capital’s Shahbag district today.

A group of nearly 100 ringID agents and customers gathered outside the National Museum of Bangladesh around 10 a.m. Thursday to protest against the freezing of bank accounts and “harassment” of ringID agents in a ongoing investigation.

Last year in October, banking authorities in Bangladesh blocked around Tk 200 crore in three ringID bank accounts.

On behalf of the online platform, protesters demanded government intervention to drop the bogus charges against ringID.

“I invested Tk 10,000 and earned Tk 1.5 lakh with the help of ringID. Likewise, many unemployed people had the opportunity to earn well using this platform,” said Sajjad Hossain, one of the demonstrators who participated in the human chain. .

“Thus, I urge the government to withdraw the case against ringID,” he told TBS.

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Photo: TBS

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ringID is said to have embezzled more than 200 crore from Tk in just three months this year by luring people into its promising online earnings Ponzi scheme.

It is said to have around 1.5 lakh of clients who have invested Tk 20,000-40,000 each on average.

The platform stopped selling memberships and monetary transactions from September 23 last year after The Business Standard and other outlets revealed their fraudulent activities.

Several law enforcement agencies, which monitor ringID, told TBS that the actual amount misappropriated could be higher. Bank statements for other months are now reviewed.

On September 28, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank requested ringID’s bank details when the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) asked for their bank details.

The BFIU has also asked banks to disclose whether they hold bank accounts belonging to ringID Distribution Limited and ringID BD Limited.

ringID, which follows a typical MLM model but calls itself a “community business”, multiplies its membership by offering current members 1,500 Tk to 1,700 Tk for adding a new member.

They give money to students to see and share ads, add new members to ringID, sell its products, and conduct coin transactions.

Attracted by huge revenue offers, existing members gather family members, friends and acquaintances on the ringID platform.

After the start of the investigation, the CID arrested a youth for fraud of more than 1 crore Tk1 by offering to open ringID accounts. Later, another agent named Redwan Rahman was arrested in Kamrangirchar area in Dhaka.

CID Additional Deputy Inspector General Kamrul Ahsan said: “Redwan had been a ringID user since 2018 but became an agent seven to eight months ago. He deceived about 600 people into embezzling Tk1 crores from them. while promising them ringID accounts.”

On October 1, CID arrested ringID director Saiful Islam for embezzlement and said the online multi-level marketing company under the guise of a social media platform had embezzled a few Tk213 crores users and customers in three months.

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CID SP Rezaul said this was based on primary trading information for three months from May to July. The platform might have made a lot more money by scamming people, which would come to light upon further investigation.

Rezaul said ringID took money from clients with promises of community jobs and foreign investment. Like some other e-commerce platforms, ringID offered products with heavy discounts and collected money from buyers through an e-wallet.

Investigators said they received a flurry of complaints from people in Bangladesh and abroad.

ringID planned to introduce a payment gateway system named ringPay for money laundering, the CID officer said.

He also noted that CID’s financial crime unit had opened a money laundering investigation against ringID.

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