US law firms want 10pc of stolen amount

Shakhawat Hossain | Published: 23:29, Jan 05,2019 | Updated: 00:45, Jan 06,2019


Bangladesh Bank faces a condition to pay 10 per cent of $66 million or $6.6 million to US law firms for carrying out a successful legal battle against a Pilipino commercial bank to recover the remaining money stolen from reserve fund, officials said.
The condition has been given by US firms ahead of the BB’s final preparation to file cases against Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation of the Philippines in an international court by January 15.
A BB team, led by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit chief Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan, is scheduled leave the capital Tuesday to bargain on the consultancy fees with the US law firms and others aspects of the imminent legal battle.
About different aspects of the legal battles, Razee Hassan told New Age on Saturday that BB was yet to disclose the identity of the US firms for strategic reasons.
He also said amount of the consultancy fee was not finalised yet.
He, however, admitted that BB already received consent from the prime minister to file lawsuits against Rizal Corp by the deadline of January 15.
Running a legal battle became imperative for the BB following abortive diplomatic efforts with the Pilipino government to recover the entire stolen fund since February 2016 after cyber thieves were successfully able to transfer $81m money from BB’s accounts in NY Federal Reserve.
Manila returned only $15 million by an order of a regional Philippine court in November 2016 while the rest is said to be laundered in casinos in Manila.
Replying to question whether Fed would be made a party of the cases, Razee Hassan said they would wait till last minute to settle the matter.
On December 06, finance minister AMA Muhith said cases would be filed against both Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and the Federal Reserve Bank.
He noted that Rizal would be the main accused and the Fed would be a party.
He also noted that the unprecedented reserve heist happened because of the Fed.
In May, finance minister AMA Muhith while attending annual general meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila proposed out-of-court settlement for the recovery of the rest $66 million.
But Manila’s response to the proposal was lukewarm, according to a report by Manila-based daily Business World.
In December 2016, law minister Anisul Huq led a Bangladesh Bank delegation to Manila for speeding up recovery of the rest of the stolen money but without any success.
Former BB governor Salehuddin Ahmed said recovering remaining stolen fund through the legal battle would be a lengthy process.
He pointed out that the government failed to put expected pressure on the Philippines government to recover the fund.

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