Bangladesh investigators to talk to FBI Sunday over $101m hacker heist in New York account

A total of $101 million was stolen from the account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in early February.

The Bangladesh Bank says $20 million that was wire-transferred to bank accounts in Sri Lanka have been recovered. But the rest, $81 million, sent to accounts in the Philippines, are yet to be recovered.

The theft came to light after Philippines Daily Inquirer first reported it at the end of February.

CID Deputy Inspector General Saiful Islam on Thursday said they will talk to the FBI representative stationed at the US embassy in Dhaka on Sunday.

The hacking and stealing of the money from the central bank’s has created a firestorm in Bangladesh, and captured international media attention.

When asked, US embassy spokesperson Nancy VanHorn told bdnews24.com on Thursday, “The United States stands ready to assist the Bangladesh government in its investigation.”

The CID was given charge of the investigation after Bangladesh Bank initiated a case on Tuesday, several hours after the resignation of embattled governor Atiur Rahman, who had apparently tried to cover up the heist.

A CID official on Wednesday said the job had become tougher as they were put on the case nearly 40 days after the incident.

The agency visited the central bank on Wednesday. They met officials of several departments and checked the server room, gathered information and examined documents during the daylong inspection.                       

Asked whether they will seek FBI’s technical assistance, DIG Islam told bdnews24.com: “Right now, we’re fully equipped to tackle the technological issues. We won’t discuss that matter with the FBI, not just yet.”

It is said that Bangladesh Bank’s system was hacked to make the payment orders of $101 million.

Of the orders made on SWIFT messaging system, the money was then sent to two banks in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

The $81 million that went to the Philippines had later found its way to and beyond the country through at least two casinos.

CID official Saiful Islam said they were checking if the hackers had any links with the 10 persons who are authorised to enter the Bangladesh Bank’s server room.

A CID team visited the central bank’s Motijheel headquarters on Thursday, too.

The investigators spoke to the bank officials and collected some evidence that will be examined in the CID lab.

Islam said they have spoken to the IT security officials of the bank.

He said they have not decided whether Atiur Rahman will be questioned.

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