Bangladesh lauds PH help on USD81-M heist

DHAKAThe chief legal counsel of Bangladesh Bank has praised the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for supporting the efforts to recover millions of dollars laundered to a Manila bank in 2016.

Ajmalul Hossain, lead counsel for Bangladesh Bank, said they got a lot of support from Duterte, including the different government agencies, in resolving the cyber heist tagged as one of the biggest in the world.

"We have been getting assistance from the money laundering council, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) office of the solicitor general, the Department of Justice, the chief prosecutor's office. We are reasonably happy with what they've done," Hossain said in an interview with Filipino journalists in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.

However, Hossain expressed concern about how soon Bangladesh can get the entire amount back considering the slow pace of legal system in the country.

"It is not unusual globally because there are cases like this that take much time and not just in the Philippines. We have a rush because the money belongs to the people of Bangladesh and they are out of pocket as it were since February 2016," he said.

Hossain added they are looking into other ways of recovering the money without affecting the ongoing case and added that they have plans to seek help from the United States.

In February 2016, unidentified hackers, allegedly from North Korea, stole USD81 million from the Bangladesh Bank's account in New York Fed and transferred it to different fake accounts in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). Then, it was laundered through casinos in the country.

The Bangladesh Bank was able to retrieve only USD15 million dollars from the Philippines after two years of investigation.

Due to its failure to prevent the withdrawal of stolen funds, the BSP ordered RCBC to pay PHP1-billion fine. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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