HomeBangladeshLinde Bangladesh charged with Fraud in Court

Linde Bangladesh charged with Fraud in Court

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CMM court, Dhaka, has ordered the framing of charges against the multinational company Linde Bangladesh Limited in a fraud case.

On Wednesday (June 26), the order was given after a hearing in Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court. The fraud case was filed by Linde Bangladesh’s sole distributor, Connect Distribution Limited, in September 2022.

According to the lawsuit, Linde Bangladesh Limited appointed Connect Distribution Limited as a vendor outside their distribution agreement, issuing purchase orders for transporting empty test-due cylinders from across the country to Linde’s factory. From January 2019 to February 2022, Connect Distribution Limited carried out this task and regularly submitted bills for the work, but no payments were made.

The case lists six defendants, including Linde’s Managing Director Sujit Pai, the Managing Director’s advisor Erfan Sihabul Matin, and Associate Director Chowdhury Nurur Rahman. Sujit Pai, the primary defendant, absconds, while the other five are on bail.

After filing the case, Linde obtained a stay order from the High Court to suspend the case proceedings. However, after a year of hearings, the High Court dismissed the stay order in October 2023, allowing the case to proceed in the lower court. Consequently, on Wednesday, the CMM court in Dhaka ordered the framing of fraud charges against Linde after hearing both sides.

Before Bangladesh’s independence, Linde Bangladesh Limited operated under the name of BOC or Bangladesh Oxygen Limited. Recently, after changing its name and transferring 60% of its shares to an Indian company, it has been operating as Linde Bangladesh Limited. Over the past three years, the company’s business has been consistently declining, as revealed in its annual audit reports. Recently, Linde Bangladesh decided to exit its welding rod business in Bangladesh and sell it to an American company, ESAB.

Meanwhile, the Dhaka Stock Exchange source informed that despite the declining business over the past three years, the company announced an unprecedented 1540% dividend this June, which is rare in Linde’s history. Even during peak business years, Linde declared a maximum 400-500% dividend. This month’s declaration means shareholders will receive around BDT 154 per share, with 60% going to the Indian company. Consequently, about BDT 1200 crore will be taken out of Bangladesh as dividends.

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