BB stands to retrieve $15m for now
The Philippines Department of Justice will appeal to a court by August 30 as part of its effort to return $15 million of Bangladesh Bank's stolen reserves, the central bank said in a statement yesterday.
In February, $101 million of the BB's reserve money was stolen from its account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York by a band of cyber thieves.
Of the amount, $81 million was laundered through the Philippines' Rizal Commercial Banking Corp without maintaining any norms.
The BB has been working on various legal steps to bring back the $81 million, and has now reached the final stages of retrieving $15 million of the amount.
It has already supplied the necessary documents to the Philippines authorities, according to the statement.
A BB team led by the general manager of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit and the central bank's lawyer Ajmalul Hossain QC went on a five-day visit to the Philippines on August 1. During the visit, the team met officials of several Philippines agencies.
"In the meetings, all parties presented the Philippines' new government's commitment to return the stolen money of the Bangladesh Bank," the statement said, adding that efforts are on to bring back the entire $81 million.
Citing the fine of 1 billion pesos (about $21 million) by the central bank of the Philippines on RCBC, the BB said: "Through this, RCBC Bank's involvement in stealing the money became clearer."
About the background of the reserve heist, the BB said in the statement that on February 4 an attempt was made to steal about $1.93 billion illegally from the central bank's reserve account with the New York Fed by generating a total of 70 fake payment instructions.
This is the first time that the BB publicly mentioned the actual amount that the band of hackers attempted to make way with. Before this, it was said that the amount was about $1 billion.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith pledged to release the probe report on the reserve heist to the public, but it is yet to be done.
A panel led by former Bangladesh Bank governor Mohammed Farashuddin submitted the probe report to the finance minister on May 30.
Bangladesh is withholding the findings of the investigations to avoid tipping off the "foreign perpetrators" of the hack, according to Reuters.
"Bangladesh Bank knows enough about what happened from the internal and external reports so far obtained by it and others," the central bank's lawyer Hossain told Reuters late on Saturday.
"This truth is being deliberately withheld from the public domain so as not to allow the foreign perpetrators of the hacking to have knowledge of the investigations."