One day after Bangladesh Bank said that it would sue the Philippines Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) to recover major part of $81 million of BB reserve stolen from New York Federal Reserve Bank, the RCBC on Thursday warned of tit-for-tat legal action.
Ajmalul Hossain QC, a member of BB’s legal team on Wednesday said BB, Federal Reserve Bank and global financial messaging service SWIFT would file the case against the RCBC in two to three months in a New York court.
Out of $81 million reserve stolen by the suspected hackers from BB account with NY Fed in February 2016 and transferred to Philippines using the RCBC Bank, the authorities in the Philippines have recovered $15 million and returned it to BB.
After the fund was stolen from New York Fed and transferred to the RCBC Bank, the funds were then swiftly withdrawn from the Manila Branch of RCBC and laundered through local casinos.
But RCBC claimed the cyber-heist was an ‘inside job’ and that the Philippine bank was being used as a scapegoat to hide the real culprits, reports the AFP
‘RCBC has had it and will consider a lawsuit against Bangladesh Central Bank officials for claiming the bank had a hand in the $81M cyber-heist,’ the Philippine lender said in a statement.
‘They are perpetuating the cover-up and using RCBC as a scapegoat to keep their people in the dark,’ the RCBC statement said.
The Philippine central bank imposed a record $21 million fine on RCBC after the discovery of the heist as it investigated the lender’s alleged role in the theft.
Money-laundering charges were also filed against the RCBC branch manager.
The US reserve bank, which manages the Bangladesh Bank reserve account, has denied its own systems were breached.
BB deputy governor Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hasan on Wednesday said that there was no trace of $14.5 million out of remaining $66 million they are trying to bring back from Manila.
He said reserve fund worth $51.5 million has been traced with accounts of different companies and individuals in Manila.
The traceable fund include $10.7 million with Philrem Service Corporation, $29 with Solaire Casino, $1.2 million with two employee of Kim Wong, a Chinese owner of the Solaire Casino and $6 million with Kim Wong, he said.
He said the case would be filed with the international stolen money recovery law.
Ajmalul Hossain QC said they are trying to recover the fund by negotiating with the authorities in the Philippines.
He said they would file the case on the basis of ‘admissible evidences’ preserved by BB.
He said BB could not use the probe report on the reserve heist by former BB governor Mohammad Farashuddin as the ‘admissible evidences’.
Ajmalul said BB has almost one year to file case on reserve heist in any civil court.
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