Casino “Kingpin” Arrested Three Years Ago in Bangladesh Innocent, Says Wife

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Casino “Kingpin” Arrested Three Years Ago in Bangladesh Innocent, Says Wife

For the past three years, Salim Prodhan has been sitting in a jail cell in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Authorities accuse him of being the mastermind of an illegal online casino, an assertion his wife told a court judge this week is completely false.

Salim Prodhan
Salim Prodhan
Salim Prodhan following his arrest in Bangladesh on charges he operated an illegal online gambling company. He is still in prison three years later as the case remains pending. (Image: Dhaka Tribune)

Anna Prodhan hasn’t had much contact with her husband during his incarceration. This was partly because the Russian citizen didn’t live in the country. She just moved there with her children in order to try to find a resolution to her husband’s dilemma.

The court system hasn’t been too concerned with Pradhan’s case since police arrested him 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 at the airport, waiting to take a flight to Bangkok. He was already under suspicion, with investigators allegedly determining that he was behind an illegal online casino, P2P Gaming.

As an entrepreneur and a businessman, Prodhan had accumulated a lot of wealth. Media outlets reported that, at the time of his arrest, he had around $6 million in assets. However, investigators allegedly could not place the source of the money.

That was enough, along with the hypothesis that he was running P2P Gaming, that he was an illegal casino kingpin. Then, to make their case more solid, investigators accused him of trying to smuggle around $2.7 million to Thailand and the US.

Subsequently, they seized all of his assets, as well as 50 different bank accounts under his control. Since then, he has had no alternative but to languish in prison. Even a year after his arrest, a police official told the press that it had not conclusively identified the source of Pradhan’s wealth.

Anna Prodhan hopes that taking a more active role in the case will put enough pressure on the court to take action. She and her husband spoke briefly in the courtroom on Wednesday, one of 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 the assertion she has made since her husband’s arrest, stating that the charges are false and that her husband has been denied fair treatment.

Prosecutors Build Their Case

As Prodhan has been biding his time in prison, prosecutors have continued to build their case. 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. There was also, according to the prosecutors, a large and questionable deposit he made to JPMorgan Chase in the US.

It’s logical for Pradhan’s wife to support her husband and claim his innocence, but she isn’t alone. A number of supporters have rallied behind him. They say that his arrest was nothing more than revenge because he 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. What happens next, following the increased attention the case is receiving, will be based on who proves to have the most influence to force action.

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