BB heist probe report will be out only after submission of its full version, says Muhith

A committed headed by ex-Bangladesh Bank governor  Mohammed Farashuddin is investigating a $81 million cyber theft in early February of Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves kept at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Muhith told reporters this after inaugurating a branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in Dhaka on Thursday, a day after Farashuddin submitted to him an interim report.

Asked if he had seen the report, the minister said, “Journalists will be informed of the contents after the receipt of the final report.”

After submitting on Wednesday the initial findings, Farashuddin told by telephone: “We have just handed over the report to the finance minister. We were asked to submit the interim report within 30 days, and we have done that.”

Responding to queries about the summary of their findings, the former governor said, “We can’t say anything. We’ve submitted the report to the government. The government will let you (journalists) know.”

Muhith told reporters on Wednesday night, “This is an interim report. They will submit the full report two and a half months later. We’ll be able to reveal the details then.”

In early February, hackers sent several orders through SWIFT to transfer $101 million from Bangladesh Bank’s account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

A transfer of $20 million to Sri Lanka was halted but $81 million was parked in and beyond the Philippines.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the theft at the end of February.

It was later found that Bangladesh central bank officials were aware of the matter but had withheld the information for a month.

Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman stepped down in the face widespread criticism and an intense pressure to quit for allegedly trying to cover up the incident.

The government formed a three-member committee on Mar 15 to investigate the heist.

The committee's other members are finance ministry’s Additional Secretary Gokul Chand Das and Prof Mohammad Kaikobad of BUET’s Science and Engineering Department.

The committee was asked to check how the payment instructions were sent and to whom, what measures the central bank had taken to stop the theft, the reason behind concealing the incident, and whether there was negligence on the part of central bank officials concerned.

The committee was also asked to assess the possibility of recovering the stolen funds and check measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.

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