BB to file case with US court today to recover stolen money

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Jan 31,2019

 
 

Bangladesh will file a case with the Federal Court for Southern District of New York today to recover $66 million, out of $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s reserve kept with Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said BB governor Fazle Kabir.
He disclosed the information while addressing at a press conference for the announcement of Monetary Policy Statement in its headquarters on Wednesday.
Asked which entities would be sued for the cyber heist, the BB governor without naming any one hinted that Manila-based Rizal Commerce Bank Corporation, from which the money was transferred in Philippines financial system, would be made accused.
‘BB lost money due to abuse of SWIFT system while Federal Reserve Bank is also victim like BB. These entities are of same category. On the other hand, the complicit and the beneficiaries are another part that includes RCBC,’ he said.
BB took the steps to go for the legal battle following abortive diplomatic efforts with the Philippine government to recover the stolen fund in February 2016 after cyber thieves transferred $81 million from BB’s account with NY Fed.
Manila returned $15 million following an order of a regional Philippine court in November 2016 while the rest $66 million was said to be laundered in casinos there.
‘Our main target is to recover entire stolen money, nothing short of it,’ said Kabir adding that, ‘we are working accordingly in this regard and our effort will continue until the recovery of the entire money.’
He hoped that the New York court would not take much time to deliver justice.
‘The case would be filed with the court on tomorrow (Thursday) in the evening,’ he said.
Asked whether there is involvement of any people of BB with the heist, BB governor said that the central bank had already filed a case with the police and the case is in the investigation stage.
On Wednesday, RCBC said in a statement it had engaged a top New York law firm to handle its defence, reporters Reuters.
‘We welcome this complaint, as it is an opportunity for RCBC to put on record again that it was a victim of what was started in Bangladesh by still unnamed persons,’ the bank said.
This month a Philippine court found former RCBC branch manager Maia Deguito guilty on eight counts of money laundering in connection with the heist and sentenced her to a jail term ranging from 32 to 56 years.
The Philippine central bank fined RCBC a record one billion pesos ($20 million) in 2016 for its failure to prevent the movement of the stolen money through the bank.
A former treasurer of RCBC and five other workers at the branch where the cash was withdrawn face money laundering charges.
Meanwhile, replying another question regarding a recent report of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity that showed that $5.9 billion was siphoned off from Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit chief Abu Hena Mohammad Razi Hasan told reporters that the entity prepared the report following two methodologies and both were inconsistent.
One showed money outflow from Bangladesh was higher than the inflow while another said inflow was higher than the outflow, said Hasan adding that there were many question regarding the report itself.
He, however, admitted that preventing money outflow was a challenge and central banks had already taken measures to prevent such office.

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