Manila refuses to hand over $20m Rizal paid in fine

The Philippines has refused to hand over to Bangladesh the $20 million it realised from Rizal Bank in fines for its role in the $81 million Bangladesh Bank cyber heist.

Rizal was fined one billion Philippine pesos ($20 million) by the country's central bank for its failure to prevent the movement of the stolen money through it.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith requested Manila to give the money during his meeting with Philippines' Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez II on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines capital last Thursday.

Dominguez told Muhith that the $20 million fine was not just because of Rizal Bank's role in the cyber heist, but because of the bank's failure in following various rules of the land.

So, the amount belongs to the Filipino public, according to Dominguez.

On February 4, 2016, hackers broke into the Bangladesh Bank's systems and generated 70 fake payment orders for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to draw about $1.94 billion.

While the NY Fed's security system flagged the payment orders, five of them fell through, and $101 million against them was released. Of the amount, $81 million was wired to the Rizal Bank's branch in Manila and $20 million to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka sent back the entire sum immediately and the Philippines just $15 million in November 2016.

Of the $67 million yet to be retrieved, the Philippines authorities could trace $52.50 million, which is now in possession of several individuals and companies.

Bangladesh has been trying for the last two years to get back the rest of the amount but in vain.

In January, a high-powered team of the BB went to the Philippines and upon its return said they are now considering filing a case against the bank with a New York court.

A BB official said they are preparing to file a case but at the same time are considering any possible out-of-the-court settlement.

At a press conference in Manila, Muhith said a case will be filed with a New York court in partnership with the NY Fed but an out-of-court settlement has not been ruled out.

 “We are open to all options but nothing is happening,” he added.

The Philippines government though is maintaining a safe distance over the issue.

“It has nothing to do with us,” Dominguez said last Friday, according to the Inquirer, a Filipino daily.  The planned settlement is between the Bangladesh government and a private sector bank, he said.

The Philippines government has taken action. “We have penalised the banks that have not followed our procedures and we have filed legal cases,” Dominguez said.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council had already filed cases in connection with the cyber heist. “If they want to make a legal settlement, then we are not involved in that,” he added.

In response, Muhith told his Filipino counterpart to quickly dispose of the cases filed against Rizal in the Philippines.

Dominguez also requested Muhith to share the inquiry report prepared by the Bangladesh government on the heist with the Philippines government.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Department is yet to complete its investigation into the transnational crime, one of the biggest cyber thefts ever reported, though two years have passed since.


৭ ঘণ্টা আগে|বাংলাদেশ

সিটি নির্বাচনে অনিয়ম সহ্য করা হবে না: সিইসি

প্রধান নির্বাচন কমিশনার (সিইসি) কাজী হাবিবুল আউয়াল বলেছেন, ‘নির্বাচনে অনিয়ম ও পেশিশক্তির ব্যাবহার কঠোর হাতে দমন করা হবে। সিটি নির্বাচনে কোনো অনিয়ম সহ্য করা হবে না।’