RESERVE HEIST

Philippine bank sues BB

Staff Correspondent | Published: 14:19, Mar 12,2019 | Updated: 00:04, Mar 13,2019

 
 

A file photo shows a security guard standing guard outside a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in Paranaque city, Metro Manila, Philippines. — Reuters photo

A Philippine bank, facing a lawsuit in a New York court over suspected cyber theft in Bangladesh Bank, has filed a defamation suit against Bangladesh Bank.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, RCBC in short, on Tuesday said it filed the defamation suit against the central bank of Bangladesh for ‘vicious’ public attacks in connection with a $81 million cyber heist three years ago.
RCBC filed the civil complaint on March 6, with the Regional Trial Court in Makati City, according to a report by the Daily Inquirer.
The suit was served to Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hasan, a former deputy governor and chief of BB Financial Intelligence Unit and the other members of BB delegation that arrived in the Philippines this week for meetings with banking officials, said the Pilipino daily.
‘It is public knowledge that Bangladesh Bank has embarked on a massive ploy and scheme to extort money from plaintiff RCBC by resorting to public defamation, harassment and threats geared towards destroying RCBC’s good name, reputation, and image,’ RCBC said, according to Philstar Global, a news portal.
When contacted, BB spokesman Serajul Islam declined to make any comment on the issue right at this moment since a case filed by BB against RCBC in a New York court under investigation.
Another BB official on condition of anonymity said that BB would take decision on the RCBC lawsuit when the visiting delegation is scheduled to arrive in the country on March 14.
Earlier on January 31, BB filed a case in New York against the RCBC to recover the stolen fund.
The Manila-based RCBC was made the main accused in the case and the bank first rejected the allegations and in 2017 even accused Bangladesh’s central bank of a ‘massive cover-up’, according to Philstar Global.
In its complaint, BB accused RCBC and dozens other, including several top executives, of involvement in a ‘massive’ and ‘intricately planned’ multi-year conspiracy to steal its money.
BB in its complaints also said funds were stolen with the help of unnamed North Korean hackers who used malware using names such as ‘Nestegg’ and ‘Macktruck’ to obtain backdoor access to its network.
It said funds were then funnelled through RCBC accounts in New York City and to the Philippines, where much of it was laundered through that country’s casino industry.
Manila returned $15 million following an order of a regional Philippine court in November 2016 while the rest $66 million still remained unrecovered.
The hackers sought to steal close to $1 billion, but ultimately stole $101 million, including $20 million sent to a Sri Lankan account.
That transfer was reversed after a spelling error was detected.
On January 10, a Philippine court found Maia Deguito, who managed RCBC’s Makati City branch, guilty of eight counts of money laundering tied to the heist.
It sentenced her to a 32- to 56-year prison term and a $109 million fine.
In August 2016, the Philippine central bank fined RCBC a record 1 billion pesos ($19 million) for failing to stop stolen money from moving through the bank.

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