The German citizen and three City Bank officials arrested in connection with the recent ATM scam have disclosed to police the names of about 40-50 businesses and individuals involved in the gang.
The police started interrogating those people and identified three to four potential suspects, Additional Police Commissioner Monirul Islam told reporters at a briefing at Dhaka Metropolitan Police Media Centre yesterday.
“We will verify the [involvement of the persons] named ones by looking into their transactions with banks concerned,” he said.
According to Monirul, the businesses and individuals concerned were from various fields, from hotel owners to musicians.
The four arrestees are: German citizen Thomas alias Piotr Szczepan Mazurek, and three City Bank officials Moksed Maksud, Rezaul Karim Shahin, and Refaz Ahmed Rony.
Of them, Thomas has given most of the information to police in remand, said Monirul.
On February 12, Eastern Bank detected 21 suspicious card transactions.
A fraudster with a fake EBL card used one of the ATM booths of United Commercial Bank Ltd, triggering the alarm of the UCBL's system. This subsequently led to the unearthing of the gang.
Asked whether Thomas told the police how much money his gang had stolen, Monirul said Thomas did not know the exact amount. The transactions were from Tk 5 lakh to Tk 20 lakh, he said.
Earlier, Monirul had said Thomas and his accomplices spent the last one year to find corrupt bank officials in the card divisions of banks, individuals, and businesses, like a hotel or travel agents, that were using point of sale machines.
They made transactions of Tk 5-7 lakh or more at a time, but those had nothing to do with the businesses. The authorities of the banks did not have any knowledge of those transactions.
Compared to the money embezzled from the banks through POS machines, the amount stolen from the ATM booths seems rather small, said Monirul.
“Before Piotr came to Bangladesh, other members of the syndicate were here and stole cash from banks,” he said.
The interrogation of Thomas also revealed that the syndicate used a very advanced and sophisticated technology to collect information from the Internet.
Meanwhile, German authorities confirmed police that Thomas was indeed a German citizen of Polish descent, ending the confusion over his citizenship.
The police found that his polish passport bearing the name Piotr Szczepan Mazurek was fake.
A Dhaka court on Monday granted a five-day fresh remand for the four after the end of their six days' in remand.