The Department of Justice (DOJ) today assured that the money stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank will be returned to its government as soon as possible but procedures have to be followed.
Acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas made the pronouncement after the ambassador from the Bangladeshi government visited the DOJ.
Caparas said the Bangladeshi government is concerned about the return of the money stolen from that country.
“The visit of the Bangladesh ambassador was just to make sure and essentially to ask not just for our support or help but something could be done as soon as possible,” Caparas said.
“We did assure them that that is being done. The legal process which involves making sure it goes as quickly as possible,” he added.
Former UE law Dean Amado Valdez earlier said that “the proper procedure in my mind is to institute forfeiture proceedings. This is a short process especially if there are no other parties who would contest ownership of the money. If there is no other claimant, it can be in the form of a summary proceeding.”
Valdez said going through the process “would help prevent a problematic precedent in the future … in any case, we have jurisdiction over that controversy.”
Last February, instructions to steal $951 million from Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh, were issued. Five transactions issued by hackers or insiders worth $101 million from a Bangladesh Bank account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York succeeded, with $20 million traced to Sri Lanka and $81 million to the Philippines.
The funds in Sri Lanka have since been recovered.
The international transfer desk of the intermediate bank, Deutsche Bank, further blocked $850 million in 35 transactions.
Criminal cases have been filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) against former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito, Angela Torres, Kim Wong and Weikang Xu pending preliminary investigation before the DOJ.
They were given up to May 3 to submit their counter-affidavits.
A Senate investigation is also being conducted on the matter. Deguito revealed that she reported to the RCBC head office that Jessie Christopher Lagrosas called her last Feb. 5 to inquire about the fund transfer from Bangladesh. She said she should have named Wong as the one who called her but instead pointed to Lagrosas, whose account was later found to be fictitious along with four other US dollar accounts opened in May 2015.
Copyright: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ Asia News Network