Aitur Rahman’s resignation is an example of courage, says PM Hasina

Atiur tendered his resignation on Tuesday during a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

After the meeting, Ihsanul Karim, press secretary to the Prime Minister, told reporters that his resignation was accepted.

“At the time, the prime minister said Atiur Rahman’s resignation was a bold step and would remain as a rare example of moral strength and courage,” he said.

The press secretary said the prime minister also mentioned the steps against other Bangladesh Bank officials responsible for the loss of funds from the foreign exchange account in the US to hackers.

Atiur headed the central bank for seven years. He was appointed governor on May 1, 2009, four months after the Awami League formed the government.

Karim said the prime minister highlighted Atiur’s role in the economic development of Bangladesh.

“Reserves have grown and the banking sector has been vibrant during his tenure,” Hasina was quoted as saying.

As Atiur Rahman’s four-year term drew to an end, the government decided to extend it by another four years. His second stint in office was to end on Aug 2 this year.

His resignation comes amid a firestorm over a cyber heist which caused Bangladesh to lose more than $80 million kept with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The incident came to light when the Philippines’ Daily Inquirer newspaper ran a report on Feb 29 that the Manila authorities were probing a money laundering incident involving cross-border electronic funds transfer.

It said that $81 million was wire-transferred on Feb 4 from Bangladesh Bank’s US account to accounts in local banks.

Bangladesh Bank kept the government and its board of directors in the dark about the heist for around a month.

It was only after the Daily Inquirer report appeared that government high-ups in Bangladesh, including Finance Minister AMA Muhith, learnt about the matter.

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