For the past three years, Salim Prodhan has been sitting in a jail cell in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Authorities say he is the mastermind of an illegal online casino. This week in court, his wife told a judge that the allegation is false.
His wife, Anna Prodhan, hasn’t had much contact with her husband during his incarceration. This was partly because she’s a Russian citizen and didn’t live in Bangladesh at the time of her husband’s arrest. She has since moved to the country with her children to be closer to her incarcerated husband.
Anna Prodhan hopes that taking a more active role in the case will pressure the court to take action. She and her husband spoke briefly in the courtroom on Wednesday. It was only a few times that they have seen each other face to face in the past three years.
Afterward, she held a press conference to bring the case to the forefront. She reaffirmed her assertion since her husband’s arrest, stating that the charges are false and that her husband has been denied fair treatment.
Police arrested Salim Prodhan at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka in 2019. They picked him up amid a larger crackdown on illegal gambling on what many inside his inner circle say are trumped-up charges.
Unraveling the Mystery
In September 2019, Prodhan was arrested at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka while waiting for a flight to Bangkok. He was already under suspicion from police, with investigators allegedly determining that he was behind an illegal online casino, P2P Gaming.
Prodhan had accumulated a large amount of wealth as an entrepreneur and a businessman. Media outlets reported that he had around $6 million in assets at the time of his arrest. However, investigators allegedly could not place the source of the money.
That was enough, along with the hypothesis that he was running P2P Gaming and that he was an illegal casino kingpin. Investigators also accused him of trying to smuggle around $2.7 million to Thailand and the US.
Subsequently, authorities seized all of his assets and 50 different bank accounts under his control. A police official told the press that it had not conclusively identified the source of Pradhan’s wealth even a year after his arrest.
Prosecutors Build Their Case, Others Claim Revenge
Prosecutors have continued to build their case while Prodhan continues his incarceration. They assert that his network of companies, including seven in Thailand, helped facilitate his criminal empire. It also allowed him to hide the revenue from the illegal gambling operations.
In addition, they highlighted allegedly illegal transactions at banks in Bangkok. According to the prosecutors, there was also a large and questionable deposit he made to JPMorgan Chase in the US.
But several others have supported Prodhan. They supports have said his arrest was revenge because Prodnah wouldn’t give in to extortion demands.
Prodhan allegedly refused to give money to a neighbor, a relative of one of the top officers in Bangladesh’s Army. As a result, the individual used his influence and what media outlet Al Jazeera has called a gang mentality of the police force’s Rapid Action Battalion. That allowed him to get his revenge
That led to Pradhan’s arrest and the ongoing drama. Following the increased attention the case is receiving, what happens next will likely be based on who proves to have the most influence to force action.