Ariful Islam
The Bangladesh Bank is going to file a lawsuit in the United States to bring back the money heisted from its reserves, according to a central bank official.
As part of the move, the central bank has completed all necessary preparations to file the case.
According to the International Court of Law, Bangladesh must sue by February 3, demanding financial loss claims.
BB spokesperson Serajul Islam told Bangladesh Post, “Bangladesh Bank has taken all necessary steps to file the case.” “We are ready to take action”, he said, adding “We will file a case over the central bank reserve heist within the timeframe.” A BB official, seeking anonymity said, a special court has been set up to determine the cost of management and filing of FIRs to prepare the case.
“Besides, we have collected necessary documents along with information and evidence on the hacking incident.”
Meantime, letters have been sent to different countries to supply any information related to the incident.
Earlier on September 6, the US government charged and sanctioned a North Korean man for hacking into Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February 2016—after the Federal Bureau of Investigation found evidence of his involvement.
The cybercriminals stole US$ 101 million from Bangladesh Bank’s reserves deposited with the US Federal Reserve Bank in February 2016.
They channelled the money into bank accounts at the RCBC in Manila by placing fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payments system.
Nearly $20 million of the sum was recovered from Sri Lanka.
The lion’s share of the booty landed in the Philippines and that is reported to have been squandered through gaming in casinos, among other matters of misdealing.
Later, some $15 million more could be recovered from the Philippines.
However, there is no headway towards recovering the remaining over $66 million from the Philippines.
Initially, the government authorities in the Philippines extended cooperation to recover the money.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’, the central bank of the Philippines, in August 2016 fined the RCBC $21 million for its involvement in the reserves heist.
The branch manager of RCBC, Maia Deguito, was arrested in August 2016 for her involvement in the theft and was released later.
She is now facing money laundering charges and is also sued by RCBC President Lorenzo Tan, for libel.
But in recent months, officials said, the authorities in the Philippines were not cooperating, as expected.
They are repeatedly asking Bangladesh to forward the official probe report, carried out by a committee headed by former BB governor Dr Mohammed Farashuddin after the incident.
Even the RCBC authority threatened to file case against Bangladesh Bank officials for allegedly maligning its image, making it a “scapegoat”, and claiming the bank had a hand in the theft.
Against this backdrop, officials of the finance ministry and the BB were finding the options of an out of court settlement of the issue.
Now they believe that recovering the remaining $66 million from RCBC would not be possible without a legal battle.