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BNP paid US lobbyists $278,582

Published : 09 Feb 2022 09:39 PM | Updated : 10 Feb 2022 04:10 PM

A USA based leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) alone paid US dollars 2,78,582 to an American lobbyist firm.

According to sources, BNP leader Abdus Satter paid the money to the Blue Star Strategic LLC in a bid to bring the result of the next parliamentary elections in favour of BNP. 

Though Abdus Satter individually signed the contract paper with the Blue Star Strategic LLC, it seems that he actually assigned the Blue Star Strategic LLC on behalf of the BNP, sources indicated

 From a documentation form, it was confirmed that foreign citizen Abdus Satter was involved in a foreign political party.

The address of the foreign party was BNP, 28/1, VIV road, Dhaka-1205,Bangladesh.

Abdus Satter was mentioned as the principal, with whom the registrant the Blue Star Strategic LLC deals. 

Abdus Satter’s aim was described as to boost democracy, advance economic development through a free market economy, and preserve human values of Bangladeshi people through teachings of Islam, the document reads.

According to credible sources, at least 2,78,582 US dollars was paid from Singapore based Overseas –Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).

US dollars 10,000 was paid in August 2018,US dollars 1,97,790 s was paid between September 2018 and March 2019, while 70,792 US dollars was paid between March and September 2019.

But in March 2021, Blue Star Strategic LLC mentioned that they have no relations with BNP. Because he( BNP leader)failed to pay dues.

Rasky Partners was also given US dollars 86,627 through the Blue Star Strategic LLC as part of the signed contract.

Rasky Partners is one of the largest and most respected independent public relations and public affairs firms in the US, with offices in Boston and DC.

Blue Star Strategic LLC paid its sub-contactor Rasky Partner 10,000 US Dollars on September 27 in 2018, 15,000 US dollars on November 21, 2018, US Dollars 15,627.75 on December 15 in 2018 while 30,000 US dollars on June 3 in 2019, sources confirmed.

Thus a total of 86,627.75 US dollars was also given to Rasky Partners through the Blue Star Strategic LLC.

Humayun Kabir , member of BNP’s central committee  and advisor of BNP’s acting chairman Tareque Rahman and  international affairs secretary of BNP, was also involved in appointing foreign lobbyist firm against the Awami League government.

BNP was supposed to pay 40,000 US dollars every month for lobbyist firms.

Not only this, even during the army-backed caretaker government in 2007, BNP assigned lobbyist firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman to restore the democracy and speed up the parliamentary polls.

The lobbyist firm submitted a document where it had mentioned that it had made an agreement with Khaleda Zia, Chairperson of BNP.

US dollars 1,60,000 was paid to the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in 2007.

In 2007, Qorvis Communications issued a press release in favour of BNP.

War crime scandal hit Bangladesh Jamaat- e -Islami had also illegally appointed lobbyist firms.

BNP and Jamaat allegedly were desperate to destroy the image of the state by illegally spending crores of foreign currencies as part of their anti-state conspiracy.

Bangladesh Post correspondent obtained various evidences in this regard. However, the correspondent could not independently verify the papers.

New York based Muslim platform Organization for Peace and Justice (OPJ) had assigned two lobbyist firms.

OPJ was assigned to halt the war crime trial against the top leaders of Jamaat.

In 2018, OPJ appointed the lobbyist firm  Husch Blackwell with   US dollars 55,000 per month.

OPJ also appointed the Cassiday and paid 2,85,952 US dollars between 2014 and 2017. According to sources, 50,000 US dollars was paid between April 2014  and June 2014.

US dollars 75,000 was paid between February 2015 and  July 2015. 

US Dollars 50,037 was paid between August 2015 and January 2016.

In 2016, OPJ paid 1,10,000 US dollars. Cassiday also made an agreement with the Cloakroom Advisors LLC to serve the purpose of Jamaat.

Mir Masum Ali, whose brother was Jamaat top leader barrister Mir Qashem Ali, who was hanged for his involvement in war crime during 1971. Mir Masum Ali stayed in USA in 2011 and in 2013.

Mir Masum Ali paid US Dollars 3,70,000 to lobbyist firm Cassiday & Associates.

He paid 2,10,000 US dollars in 2011, 1,40,000 US dollars in 2012 and 20,000 US dollars in 2013.

Institute for US-Bangladesh Relations appointed Cassiday and associates on behalf of Jamaat.

A total of 7,10,952 US dollars was paid by pro-Jamaat organizations in USA.

Meanwhile,  the official website of ruling Awami League  also claimed that BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami appointed lobbyists.

A total of four documents available proved Jamaat’s financing for the lobbyist firms. The registration numbers were 6218 and 6219 in 2014, 6272 in 2015, 6336 in 2016 and 6517 in 2018.

About BNP’s lobbying network, ruling party’s website further alleged that the BNP works with US-based lobbyist firms Akin Company Associates, Blue Star Strategies and Rasky Partners.

The BNP has paid USD 3.75 million to a lobbyist firm for anti-government propaganda in the United States.

The Bangladesh government managed to obtain eight contract papers so far – three of these are of BNP’s and the rest belongs to Jamaat, the website further said.

BNP's agenda to appoint lobbyist firms were halting the trial of war criminals, creating pressure from donor countries, including the United States, stopping international assistance in development activities, preventing the imprisonment of its leader Khaleda Zia.

BNP’s agenda also included creating an unstable situation in Bangladesh, bringing sanctions on the economy and trade, establishing a puppet government through foreign intervention in Bangladesh elections and putting the country's mineral resources to foreign mentors’ hands in order to grab power.

BNP's Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir denied the allegation and said the  letter which BNP sent abroad was not for the appointment of lobbyists.

He said the letter was a call to international development partners to protect human rights in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently told parliament that BNP will have to answer from where they paid lakhs of dollars to the lobbyist firms in the US which were appointed to destroy the image of Bangladesh and mislead the people with false accusations and false information.

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