World Bank to help BB recover stolen money

The World Bank has proposed to help the Bangladesh Bank recover the stolen money and enhance cyber security, according to a WB letter sent to the central bank yesterday.

If needed, the multilateral lender said, it is ready to extend support to the BB in resolving any issues with the US Federal Reserve.

“Meetings with the Federal Reserve and the US Department of the Treasury can be arranged during the WB's spring meeting in the US next month,” the WB said.

The WB offer came following the hacking of around $101 million from the BB's foreign currency account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

However, prompt actions helped the BB recover some $20 million from Sri Lanka. The rest $81 million, which was taken through the Philippines banking system, could not be recovered yet.

Earlier, the Bangladesh's central bank said it would take help of the WB to get back the stolen funds under the WB's Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), which is a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

StAR works with developing countries and financial centres to prevent the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and to facilitate more systematic and timely return of stolen assets.  “The WB has offered to help us with its support and resources for stolen asset recovery and taking urgent preventive measures to enhance cyber security for the BB and the overall banking system,” a central bank official said.

“The WB has also expressed willingness to extend technical assistance to the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) to enhance its capacity,” the official said, asking not to be named. The BFIU works to prevent money laundering.

The new governor, who took over yesterday, will meet WB officials soon, he said.


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