Bangladeshi UN official in NY arrested for ‘visa fraud’

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un-dailyInternational desk: US prosecutors have charged a Bangladeshi economist working for the United Nations in New York with allegedly mistreating a domestic worker.

Hamidur Rashid was arrested Tuesday, becoming the second official from Bangladesh charged in New York in eight days.

According to a complaint, Rashid, identified as a program director at the UN Development Program in Manhattan, initially contracted with the employee to pay her $420 per week and submitted that contract to the US State Department to obtain a visa for her.

Acting U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Joon Kim said Rashid instead took “cruel advantage of his position of power, grossly overworking his domestic worker” and paying her “well below” what he had reported.

He obtained her visa “through lies” and “allegedly set up a sham bank account to spend for himself the wages he purported to pay her,” said Kim.

On June 12, Mohammed Shaheldul Islam, 45, a deputy consul general of Bangladesh, was accused of forcing his servant to work for up to 18 hours a day without pay. He was charged Monday with labor trafficking and assault.

Islam, who has limited diplomatic immunity, was ordered by a federal magistrate to surrender his passport. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

In December 2013, India’s deputy consul general, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested and strip-searched in New York on charges of mistreating her servant in what sparked a bitter dispute between India and the United States.

US authorities accused her of paying a domestic worker less than the minimum wage and lying about the employee’s salary in a visa application.

She denied the charge and subsequently returned to India, but was later stripped of her Foreign Ministry post for making unauthorized statements to the media.

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