Bangladesh Drops Death Penalty Plan After Bundesbank Objects

Bangladesh’s central bank plans to drop a proposal seeking death penalty for currency forgers after Germany’s Bundesbank shelved an anti-counterfeiting partnership with the South Asian nation citing the punishment.

The venture was originally scheduled to begin in February, the Bundesbank said. It had not been aware of the death-penalty threat when it offered consultation and training services on counterfeit prevention as part of its cooperation activities, the German central bank said in a statement yesterday, putting the partnership on hold.

“Ours is a central bank with a human face and the death penalty in this case goes against these principles,” Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said in a phone interview. “The proposal is being called back.”

The central bank had sent the recommendation imposing a death penalty for counterfeiting to the Ministry of Finance on Jan. 2 “inadvertently, without due review,” Rahman said. Bangladesh in October arrested 10 people in two raids for printing 88,000 Indian rupees ($1,630) and 25 million taka ($315,000) of currency notes, the Daily Star newspaper reported.

The Bundesbank, which is yet to receive an official response from Bangladesh Bank, will have to consult on the new developments, said a spokesman, who declined to be identified, citing central bank rules. It’s too early to talk about a resumption of the venture, he said.

“While the Bundesbank believes that counterfeiting is a serious criminal offense, it considers the threat of imposing the death penalty to be excessive,” it said in yesterday’s statement. “Unless Bangladesh clearly and irrevocably drops these plans, the Bundesbank will terminate the consultation project before it has begun.”

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